The Fifth International high-level meeting within the framework of the Astana Process on Syria was held in Astana on July 4-5, 2017. Delegations of the ceasefire regime's guarantor states – Russia, Turkey, and Iran, as well as the government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian armed opposition, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Syria Staffan de Mistura took part in the negotiations, with the representatives of Jordan and the United States participating as observers.
The outcomes of the two-day meeting were announced during a plenary session where all the parties were present.
Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov highlighted the significant results of the Astana Process, which started earlier this year with the support and direct participation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The meeting brought obvious positive results aimed at strengthening the ceasefire regime, the minister said.
“We have always believed that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict, and that therefore dialogue is the only path to peace," he emphasised.
“There is undoubtedly room for further improvement in certain areas. However, the tireless work of the Astana Process participants let it make gradual, but significant progress. No one can argue that each round of talks in Kazakhstan yields concrete results, which have positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Syrians," Abdrakhmanov highlighted.
He also stressed that the scale and intensity of the conflict have been reduced noticeably, efforts are continuing to create conditions necessary for delivery of humanitarian aid to the people in need in Syria.
Abdrakhmanov presented the text of the Joint Statement by Iran, Russia and Turkey on the outcomes of the Fifth International meeting on Syria in Astana. The guarantor states confirmed their determination to strengthen the ceasefire regime and the inadmissibility of violating it, as well as their determination to promote confidence building between the parties to the conflict.
The document states “a significant reduction in the level of violence on the ground in Syria following the signing on May 4, 2017, of the Memorandum on the creation of de-escalation areas in the Syrian Arab Republic". The guarantor states welcomed the establishment of the Joint Working Group on de-escalation in accordance with the Memorandum and approved its provision. The document stresses the progress in determining the boundaries of de-escalation zones. It also sets the task of finalizing the operational and technical conditions for the areas' operation. The Joint Working Group's next meeting is scheduled to take place in Iran on August 1-2, 2017.
The document reaffirms the commitment to the fundamental principles of the settlement of the Syrian crisis, as well as the immediate improvement of the humanitarian situation in the conflict zone.
The guarantor states emphasized the crucial role of the Astana Process that facilitates the Geneva peace negotiations, including in the context of the next Geneva round scheduled for July 10, 2017. President Nazarbayev and Kazakhstan's authorities were thanked for holding the meeting in Astana. It was decided to hold the next high-level International meeting within the Astana Process at the end of August this year.
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