2 Apr 2018 18:23

Russian, Turkish, Iranian leaders to address ceasefire violations in Syria at Ankara summit - Kremlin aide

MOSCOW. April 2 (Interfax) - The leaders of Russia, Turkey, and Iran, who are to meet at a summit in Ankara, will assess the outbreak of violence in a number of areas in Syria, Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said.

"As we expect, the leaders will stress commitment to Syria's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity both at the session and at their meeting. This is extremely important to us," Ushakov said in the run-up to the Russian president's visit to Turkey.

"The three countries share the understanding that there is no alternative to settling the conflict in Syria via political methods and realize that the final say in this process should rest with the Syrians, the citizens of Syrian Arab Republic themselves," he said.

The Russian, Turkish, and Iranian leaders will assess the situation in certain parts of Syria, after being briefed by the military, Ushakov said. "Naturally, this will be discussed, and the heads of state will assess the current situation in a number of areas in Syria where an outbreak of violence has been recorded from those who oppose a peaceful resolution to the crisis," he said.

The Russian, Turkish, and Iranian leaders are expected to elaborate on extra steps to bolster the ceasefire at the summit, Ushakov said. "They will obviously plan further steps that could be taken to bolster the ending of hostilities to ensure the functioning of the so-called de-escalation areas," he said.

Among the meeting's objectives is the review of measures to promote constitutional reform in Syria in accordance with the decision of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi, he said.

"The presidents of the three countries expect that the UN team working in Geneva led by Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura would carry on acting within the framework of the existing mandate and the Sochi decisions to promote agreements based on the well-known UN Security Council Resolution 2254," Ushakov said.

Russia, Turkey, and Iran intend to continue to provide the UN with necessary assistance for the potential establishment of a balanced and workable constitutional committee representing all segments of Syrian society as soon as possible, Ushakov said.

"The presidents are also expected to compare notes on the implementation of the recent UN Security Council resolution of February 24, which calls for a ceasefire throughout the entire territory of the country, which is aimed at improving the humanitarian situation in the republic," Ushakov said, adding that the presidents would discuss Russia's, Iran's, and Turkey's specific contribution to the humanitarian dimension in this context.

"Concerning particular regions, the current situation will be discussed, on which the military will report citing information available as of the morning of April 4," he said.