Turkey, Russia, Iran vow to back Syria's sovereignty

Joint statement has been released after trilateral summit on Syria in Russian city of Sochi

Turkey, Russia, Iran vow to back Syria's sovereignty

By Diyar Guldogan

SOCHI, Russia

Turkey, Russia and Iran have reiterated their support for Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"The heads of state reaffirmed their strong commitment to sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic," according to a joint statement released following a trilateral meeting between the presidents of the three countries Wednesday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Iran's Hassan Rouhani met in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi to discuss progress in the Astana peace talks as well as changes in de-escalation zones across Syria.

The zones were established to reinforce a cease-fire introduced by the three guarantor states in December last year.

According to the statement, Erdogan, Putin and Rouhani expressed support for a broad intra-Syrian dialogue involving representatives of all segments of Syria.

The presidents called on “the representatives of the government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the opposition that are committed to the sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and non-fractional character of Syrian state to participate constructively in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi in the near future", it added.

The three countries will also continue to have an "active collaboration" with а view to establishing peace and stability in Syria as envisaged by UN Security Council resolution 2254.

A resolution adopted in December 2015 had endorsed a road map for peace process in Syria. 

Coordinated efforts to continue

"The presidents expressed satisfaction with the current level of tripartite coordination on maintaining and strengthening the cease-fire regime in Syria, of which Iran, Russia and Turkey are guarantors," it said.

The three countries will continue cooperation for the ultimate defeat of Daesh, Al-Nusra and all other terrorist organizations.

"The presidents emphasized that the creation of the de-escalation areas established in Astana process in Syria have been quite efficient and greatly help to reduce violence, alleviate the humanitarian suffering, curb the flow of refugees, and start working to provide conditions for the safe return of refugees and internally-displaced persons," it added.

They said the Astana format and its achievements became an "effective instrument" for contributing to peace and stability in Syria.

"The presidents decided that Iran, Russia and Turkey would continue their coordinated efforts to ensure that the progress in reduction of violence is irreversible. 

"They agreed to assist the Syrians in restoring unity of the country, and achieving а political solution of the crisis through an inclusive, free, fair and transparent Syrian-led and Syrian-owned process, leading to а constitution enjoying the support of the Syrian people and free and fair elections with the participation of all eligible Syrians under appropriate un supervision," it added.

The leaders also underscored the need for "rapid, safe and unhindered" humanitarian access to Syria. 

They also called on the international community to support the process of de-escalation and stabilization in the country.

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