The foreign Ministers of Russia and Turkey left Idlib for discussion at the highest level


MOSCOW, August 24. / The foreign Ministers of Russia and Turkey Sergei Lavrov and Cavusoglu for talks on Friday covered all aspects of the Syrian settlement, with emphasis on the situation in Idlib. Explicit consent according to the methodology of achieving peace and stability in this province of Syria sides have not reached this topic in the near future will be discussed by the presidents of Russia and Turkey Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan, but the common goal – the eradication of the hotbed of terrorism.

Heads of depodesta also called for the speedy formation of the Syrian Committee on the Constitution and creating conditions for the return of refugees to their homeland.

The bilateral issues included the schedule of contacts at the highest level, and facilitation of the visa regime for certain categories of citizens, humanitarian projects, trade and economic cooperation and energy.

Astana – Sochi – Geneva

Moscow has always stressed that the Astana (Russia, Iran and Turkey, where they mostly discussed the military aspects of the settlement, hereinafter – approx. and Sochi (for the creation of the Syrian constitutional Committee) formats are not intended to replace the Geneva process, and to contribute. The only requirement is the compliance effort to the principles enshrined in UN security Council resolution 2254.

According to Lavrov, in Astana, the “Troika” is ready for dialogue with the so-called “small group” of countries on the Syrian settlement (UK, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, USA and France). However, to expand the format of “Astana” is not relevant.

On the eve of the special envoy of the UN Secretary General on Syria Staffan de Mistura said that on September 11-12 in Geneva will meet with representatives of the guarantor countries, the main theme is the formation of the Syrian constitutional Committee. Now the emissary is working on the lists of nominations from the government and the opposition.

In turn, Lavrov denied the existence of differences with Ankara on opposition personalities. “The rumors that the formation of the constitutional Committee, what does Staffan de Mistura, had disagreements on the lists of the opposition between Moscow and Ankara, is by definition not true. Because Russia was not involved in the formation of the list of the opposition, this work was coordinated by Turkey. We have no issues with that list, which the opposition had presented de Mistura,” – said the head of the Russian depodesta.

To minimize the risks

The Russian foreign Minister, being on 14 August in Ankara, said that Damascus has the right to the operation on its territory, referring to Idlib. Meanwhile, his Turkish counterpart on Friday said that it will lead to big growth in refugees and even may harm the trust with Russia on Syria: “It could trigger a flood of refugees, the drama of human catastrophe, and, of course, it will hurt and the trust that formed between Russia and Turkey on the Syrian issue, and would undermine the credibility of our countries.” At the same time, he recognized the need to eliminate terrorists in Idlib, threatening and Turkey.

The Russian Minister said that the terrorists “dzhebhat an-Nusra” (banned in Russia as a terrorist group – approx. not only interfere with the process of delimitation of the opposition and rebel fighters fired at positions of the Syrian army and the Russian air base in Hamima, hiding behind civilians as a human shield. “We need to do everything that this has taken place to minimise any risks to civilians, – noticed Lavrov. I am sure that the presidents will be on the subject to speak.”

The pair of efforts

Some Western partners and international officials are putting the process of the return of Syrian refugees in dependence on a political settlement. However, practice shows that everything can be done in parallel: to help people to return to their homes, to negotiate a Constitution and successfully fight terrorism.

In this regard, Lavrov and Cavusoglu have agreed that Moscow and Ankara will undertake common efforts for the return of refugees to their homeland, that will help a political settlement in Syria. “We will work together, these processes helped to stabilize the situation, helped to solve the questions necessary to start the political process”, – said the head of the foreign Ministry. In turn, his Turkish counterpart, said that “colleagues from the military departments and intelligence agencies will continue to work on how to reduce the violence in Syria as to create peace and stability in the region.”

Economy, energy and visa

In his speech, the Russian Minister stressed that Turkey is one of the key trade and economic partners of Russia. He drew attention to the significant growth of turnover and noted the successful implementation of joint energy projects, namely the construction of the gas pipeline “Turkish stream” and the first reactor unit of the NPP “Akkuyu”. The Russian side expressed interest in cooperation in the metallurgy, automotive industry, agriculture, banking and military-technical spheres.

In addition, Russia and Turkey agreed soon to create a consultation mechanism to simplify the visa regime for certain categories of Turkish citizens. This mechanism involves work at the expert level to develop concrete steps to abolish the visa regime for Turkish citizens, holders of service passports and holders of special passport (special category passports, which exists only in the Turkish state system) and for conducting international transportation truck drivers on a reciprocal basis.

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