Common ground on Syria: What France, Germany, Turkey & Russia agreed in Istanbul

Common ground on Syria: What France, Germany, Turkey & Russia agreed in Istanbul
Despite years of disagreements on Syria, the leaders of Turkey, France, Germany, and Russia worked out a common vision for the steps to reconciliation in the war-torn country when they met in Istanbul. Here’s a summary of it.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who hosted the talks, was joined by Russia’s Vladimir Putin and France’s Emmanuel Macron, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Following the summit, the four leaders held a joint press conference and released a communique, highlighting what common ground they had found during the four-way talks.

  • Only political solution for Syria
    The leaders have “expressed their support for an inclusive, Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process that is facilitated by the United Nations.”

  • Need to start work on constitution in Geneva
    A committee tasked with drafting a new constitution for Syria should begin its work as soon as possible, preferably before the end of this year.

  • No to division of Syria
    Syria must continue to exist within its pre-war borders. Any separatist movements or desires of foreign powers to occupy parts of the country are therefore firmly rejected.

  • Keep ceasefire & defeat terrorists
    The four countries have expressed their support for the Idlib ceasefire deal, brokered earlier by Russia and Turkey. At the same time, they emphasized the importance of fighting terrorism and condemned the use of chemical weapons.

  • Boost humanitarian aid
    The United Nations and other international organizations should bolster aid deliveries to the war-torn country. “Swift, safe and unhindered” flow of humanitarian aid will provide much-needed relief to the sufferings of the Syrian people.

  • Help return of refugees
    The four leaders stressed the importance of “safe and voluntary” return of refugees to Syria. To facilitate the process, appropriate housing and social care facilities must be constructed in the country.

  • Internationally observed elections
    The ultimate goal of the political settlement process is holding transparent, internationally observed elections, the statement reads. All Syrians, including those who had to flee the country, must be able to participate.

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