ASTANA, December 22, 2017 – Participants of the 8th International Meeting on Syria in Astana agreed on a number of documents on confidence-building measures and backed the complete eradication of terrorism and the consolidation of the political process in Syria.
The results of the two-day talks were presented at the plenary session, which was opened by Kazakhstan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Kairat Abdrakhmanov, who described the outcome as “very important and meaningful” for the further stabilization and improvement of the humanitarian situation in Syria. “The Astana Process is implemented with the direct support of President Nursultan Nazarbayev and is a unique, comprehensive format that is acceptable to all interested parties,” the Minister emphasized, as he summed up the main results of the 12 months of the ceasefire regime.
The Kazakh side welcomes the adoption of the Joint Statement of the Astana Process Guarantor States – Iran, Russia and Turkey, on the outcomes of the 8th meeting. The Guarantor States' approval of the “Regulation on the Working Group on the release of detainees/abductees and handover of the bodies as well as identification of missing persons”, along with the “Joint statement on humanitarian mine action in Syria, including UNESCO list of cultural heritage sites” marked significant progress in the negotiations.
Hosting the heads of delegations of the Guarantor States and observers during the previous round of the Astana Process, the President of Kazakhstan underlined the importance of concrete results in the humanitarian sphere and in the consolidation of confidence-building measures, such as the release of detained Syrian citizens. Today there is hope that the government and the armed opposition in Syria will take steps to bring their positions closer to each other, which requires concerted action from the Guarantor States in this direction as well. At the same time, the provision of free access to international humanitarian missions to deliver assistance to the population in need, including in the de-escalation zones created as a result of the Astana Process, is becoming especially urgent. Recently Kazakhstan as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council supported the body's relevant resolution in this regard.
In the final document of the 8th round of talks, the Guarantor States “reaffirmed their determination to continue cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate DAESH/ISIS, Nusra Front and other terrorist entities.” The sides will continue coordinated measures to ensure the irreversibility of the tendency to reduce violence. The importance of further efforts to strengthen the ceasefire regime and ensure the effective functioning of all four de-escalation areas was emphasized.
The Guarantor States intend to closely cooperate in the preparation and convocation of the Syrian national dialogue congress in Sochi on January 29-30, 2018, involving the representatives of all segments of the Syrian society. The Statement of the 8th Astana meeting calls “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-factional character of Syria to actively cooperate. To this end, the three guarantors will hold a special preparation meeting in Sochi before the congress, on 19-20 January 2018.”
At the same time, it is emphasized that the Syrian national dialogue congress is regarded as “an initiative aimed at giving momentum to the negotiation process under the UN auspices in Geneva and facilitating an intra-Syrian agreement based on mutual consent.”
It was decided that the next high-level International Meeting on Syria in Astana will be held in the second half of February 2018.
The Astana Process brought together delegations of the Guarantor States of the ceasefire regime – Iran, Russia and Turkey, the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian armed opposition, the UN delegation led by the Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, as well as representatives of Jordan and the United States as observers.