Quadripartite Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Moscow Affirms Support for Syria’s Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity and Turkish-Syrian Normalization

Caracas, May 10, 2023 (OrinocoTribune.com)—The meeting of the foreign ministers of Syria, Russia, Iran, and Türkiye, held in Moscow on Wednesday, affirmed support for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and combating terrorism in all its forms.

“Pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and official statements in the Astana process, the participants emphasized their commitment to the territorial integrity of Syria, non-interference in its internal affairs and fighting all forms of terrorism, separatism and extremism in the country,” the statement said.

Endorsed in 2015, UNSC Resolution 2254 supports a Syrian-led political process facilitated by the United Nations.

The joint statement, released at the end of the quadripartite meeting on Wednesday, May 10, also called for increasing the volume of international aid to Syria in order to help rebuild the country and guarantee the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.

The statement also announced that the four deputy foreign ministers have been instructed to prepare a roadmap for the normalization of Syrian-Turkish relations, in coordination with the defense ministries of the four countries.

“We emphasize the necessity of preserving the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and the necessity of restoring state control over all of its lands,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

The Russian foreign minister also expressed hope that the roadmap for Turkish-Syrian normalization would be prepared for the next foreign ministers’ meeting. “Based on joint efforts and meetings at the level of defense ministers and deputy foreign ministers, we have been able to hold a meeting today,” he said. “And we hope that our talks will contribute to setting a roadmap for restoring the Syrian-Turkish relations to normal by the date of the next ministerial meeting, to be submitted after that to our heads of states, which would open new possibilities for the Astana format regarding the settlement of the crisis in Syria and which will have a positive impact, not only on the situation in Syria but also on the general climate in the region as a whole.”

Lavrov added that the road map must reflect the stances of all parties, particularly Syria and Türkiye, including restoring the Syrian state’s control over all its lands, ensuring border security in coordination with Türkiye, reopening logistical transportation routes, and resuming economic cooperation without any obstacles.

Lavrov affirmed Russia’s rejection of the illegal Western unilateral coercive measures imposed on Syria, which destabilize the economy and impede the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need, particularly in the aftermath of the February earthquake. He pointed out that despite the catastrophe and human suffering, the United States and Europe did not lift any of the more than 2000 existing sanctions on Syria. He also stressed the necessity of support from the international community in facilitating the return of refugees and displaced people to their homes, and announced that this is a priority and a basic principle for Russia, Syria, Iran, and Türkiye.

Russia, Syria, Iran, and Türkiye launched the Astana peace process in 2017 with the aim of solving the Syrian crisis generated by the US-backed proxy war since 2011.

In recent months, Russia and Iran have sponsored an initiative to restore Syrian-Turkish ties. Syria has asserted that it will not move forward with the initiative unless a clear roadmap is established for Turkish military withdrawal from Syria and end to Turkish support for extremist groups, namely the Syrian National Army (SNA) coalition and the infamous Al-Qaeda offshoot, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which still control significant portions of Syrian territory.

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad highlighted that Syria will “continue to work, demand and insist on the issue of Turkish withdrawal,” and “stress the need to fight all terrorist organizations on Syrian soil.”

According to the joint statement of the meeting, the initiative will move forward, and “the parties agreed to maintain the quadripartite negotiations and high-level contacts in the upcoming period.”

This agreement comes a week after a meeting of the Syrian and Arab governments in Jordan agreed to set up a roadmap of their own to resolve the Syrian crisis and improve relations within the Arab world. Syria has also been welcomed back to the Arab League, after its membership had been suspended in 2011.

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