Tenth meeting on Syria in the format ended in Sochi

POLICY

SOCHI, August 1. /Basereporter.com/. Tenth meeting on Syria in the format ended on Tuesday in Sochi with the approval of the humanitarian agenda for further negotiations. The decision to use the Sochi area, although all previous rounds were held in the capital of Kazakhstan, coupled with the intention to shift the focus from to a greater extent military matters to aspects of the political settlement, strengthening of confidence-building measures and reconstruction Arab Republic.

The guarantor countries – Russia, Iran and Turkey – given the qualitative change in the situation on the ground, have agreed to work together over the return of Syrian refugees to the places of permanent residence and to assist the parties to the conflict in the exchange of lists of detainees, missing persons and the dead, which runs the pilot project. Work will continue with special envoy of the UN Secretary General on Syria Staffan de Mistura on the Syrian formation of a constitutional Committee, a new consultation on the subject was agreed to be held in early September in Geneva.

The eleventh high-level meeting will be held in November.

Joint assistance

In a joint statement, the guarantors, as in all past rounds, reaffirmed their commitment to sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Arab Republic, as well as determination to continue the fight against terrorist organizations “Islamic state” and “Dzhebhat EN-Nusra” (both organizations are banned in Russia) and related. In continuation of that stated opposition to the separatist plans, undermining the sovereignty of Syria and the national security of neighbouring countries.

The document contains a call for the UN and its humanitarian agencies “to create the appropriate conditions for the speedy and safe return of internally displaced persons and refugees to their places of residence.”

Yet without surgery

With the liberation of Eastern ghouta, HOMS, and now in the South of Syria from terrorists last problematic point on the map was only of Idlib, where went who refused to surrender to government forces, the militants. In the near future, as noted by the special representative of the President of the Russian Federation on the Syrian settlement, Alexander Lavrentyev, a city storm or offensive are not expected, but the terrorists advised the activity not to show any outing will be severely suppressed.

In this regard, the moderate opposition, and Turkey, whose responsibility is this area of de-escalation, needs to do their part of work to stabilise the situation. “Then there will be no need to conduct any operations against the militants”, – said the special representative of the President of the Russian Federation. To exit from Idlib, Syrian refugees organized a humanitarian corridor.

Syria’s permanent representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari accused Ankara of violation of the Astana commitments. “The period of de-escalation areas has limitations, they cannot be extended without the consent of the Syrian government. It is the legitimate right of the Syrian people to return all the occupied by Turkey territories,” he said, adding that the government will achieve cessation of the presence of “Ottoman forces”.

The opposition, by contrast, called the Turkish observers allies, saying that Damascus is not intimidated by her threats to operations in Idlib. However, when compared with previous rounds, the rhetoric of the opposition softened somewhat, and, according to experts, it’s not even that the talks came a slightly different composition, and a radical change of the situation on the ground. The head of the opposition delegation, Ahmed Tom thanked Russia for the improvement of the situation in Syria.

Changes on the southern front

Created over a year ago, the zone of de-escalation, despite criticism, has proved its effectiveness. Lavrentyev said at a briefing that the operation of the armed forces against terrorists in the South was completed on Tuesday.

“Just 10 days of operation the majority of the militants were killed, several hundred yesterday, today surrendered without a fight, – noted the diplomat. – Currently, all areas adjacent to the demarcation line between Israel and Syria in the Golan heights, now exposed to the Syrian positions. Same thing on the border with Jordan.”

In this regard, the need for the presence of Iranian and Pro-Iranian groups in a specific territory anymore. As described later, the special representative of the President in an interview Basereporter.com the Iranian forces withdrew from the demarcation line with Israel in the Golan at a distance of not less than 85 kilometers.

Return home

The initiative to return home, Syrian refugees belongs to Russia: as reported in an interview Basereporter.com Lavrentiev, representatives of the Russian Federation made a proposal to transfer this work to a planned basis during a visit to Ankara last week.

In the future, this task can connect to other countries. The issue of refugees will be one of the main at the summit Russia – Turkey – France – Germany in Istanbul on 7 September. European countries, as noted by the Lavrentyev, could play an important role in the financial support of this work.

Among the difficult moments – the provision of security assurances to those refugees who lived in opposition-controlled territory, and left her with the approach of the Syrian government troops. However, this issue can be resolved: Lavrentyev cited the example of the successful return of temporarily displaced persons fleeing from the government forces of opposition-controlled Idlib. Successfully implemented the integration of moderate opposition groups in the Syrian army. It is obvious that such solutions can be found for those opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who are outside the country, mainly in Turkey and European countries.

To talk about multilateral separate document on refugees, according to Lavrentiev, it is too early, but the actual work will be coordinated at the level of special working bodies.

The mechanism of trust

Subtle, but extremely important point in creating a bridge between the government and the opposition could be a decision to launch a pilot mechanism for the exchange of prisoners. Yet will exchange in just 10-15 people, and the list of candidates yet to submit to each other.

Talks on exchange of prisoners are underway at various venues on the Syrian settlement long ago. To create such a mechanism, the UN special envoy for Syria, proposed back in the spring of 2016, but the success of these efforts to date have been unsuccessful. If the exchange does happen, it can become a serious step towards the establishment of trust between remaining in Syria moderate groups of the opposition and official Damascus.

The long road to the Constitution

Trust is necessary for the development of a new Constitution and holding, in accordance with her parliamentary and presidential elections. Thus the Syrians themselves, without external pointers will be able to decide which party and which President will be to manage them.

This discussion was carried out in Sochi in the framework of consultations the parties with de Mistura. A emissary of the UN and the guarantors of the Astana process there are lists of representatives to the Committee from the government, the opposition and civil society. In the near future the parties will be engaged in their learning. At a meeting in Geneva in September, these lists can be approved.

Lawrence warned that the process of formation of the constitutional Committee was not fast, and it is better to move slowly but with confidence in the result, however, the UN and the guarantor countries have already started to discuss procedural issues of the new institution. This gives reason to expect that its formation can occur quite soon.

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The decision of the Supreme court of the Russian Federation from December 29, 2014 grouping “Islamic state” (2014 – “Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant”, LIH) recognized as a terrorist organization. Its activity in Russia is prohibited.

The decision of the Supreme court of the Russian Federation from December 29, 2014 the Islamist group “Dzhebhat EN-Nusra” as terrorist organization. Its activity in Russia is prohibited.

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