Leaders of Turkey, Russia, Iran hold online Astana summit

Leaders of Turkey, Russia, Iran hold online Astana summit

Leaders of Turkey, Russia, Iran hold online Astana summit

Protecting the political unity and territorial integrity of Syria is a priority for Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stressed on July 1, addressing an online summit with the Astana group.

“Maintaining the political unity and territorial integrity of Syria, the establishment of calm on the ground and a lasting solution to the conflict are our priority,” he said at the online gathering of the leaders of Turkey, Russia, and Iran, which aims to end the conflict in Syria and launch a political process.

“We prevented a humanitarian tragedy and divisive ambitions by actual intervention when necessary. We’ll continue to do our best to provide peace, security and stability in our neighbor Syria as soon as possible,” he said.

“The cooperation we will display as Astana guarantors will be decisive in the future of Syria,” he noted.

The 6th Tripartite Astana Summit was held on July 1 via videoconference with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Russian President Vladimir Putin due to COVID-19 pandemic measures.

Rouhani, for his part, said there is “no military solution” for Syria. “The Islamic Republic believes the only solution to the Syrian crisis is political and not a military solution,” Rouhani said in the televised opening address.

“We continue to support the inter-Syrian dialogue and underline our determination to fight the terrorism of Daesh [Arabic acronym for ISIL], al-Qaeda and other related groups,” he stated.

“I emphasize that the fight against terrorism will continue until it is completely eradicated in Syria and the region in general,” he added.

Erdoğan, Putin, and Rouhani later on released a 14-item statement after the videoconference.

The leaders reviewed the developments following their last meeting in Ankara last September and “reiterated their determination to enhance the trilateral coordination in light of their agreements,” according to the statement.

The leaders “emphasized their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic as well as to the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter,” the statement said.

They also stressed that “these principles should be universally respected and that no actions, no matter by whom they were undertaken should undermine them.”

The leaders “rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism, including illegitimate self-rule initiatives, and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as threatening the national security of neighboring countries.”

The Astana process was launched by Russia, Turkey, and Iran in January 2017 in an effort to bring all warring parties in Syria to the negotiating table as a complementary part of the U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva. The talks are the first since September in the so-called Astana format, in which the three powers discussed developments in Syria, where the conflict entered its 10th year.

The next summit had to be held in Iran but was canceled due to the novel coronavirus.