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Russia, Turkey Stress Importance of Forming Syria Constitutional Committee

Russia, Turkey Stress Importance of Forming Syria Constitutional Committee

Saturday, 30 March, 2019 - 10:30
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (left) and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meet in Antalya on March 29. Russian News Agency TASS.
Ankara - Saeed Abdelrazek
Moscow and Ankara have agreed to step up work to establish Syria’s Constitutional Committee, and have renewed their commitment to implement the Sochi deal on establishing a demilitarized zone in the northwestern province of Idlib.

During a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu following a meeting of the Joint Strategic Planning Group on Friday in Antalya, Russian FM Sergei Lavrov revealed that the Syrian regime and the opposition have agreed on some names for the Constitutional Committee.

Moscow and Ankara see eye to eye on the need to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on Syria.

"Today, the Astana format actually continues to be the only effective mechanism for tackling numerous issues concerning the Syrian settlement, no matter who and how many try to hinder that process," Lavrov emphasized.

"We agreed to accelerate the establishment of the Constitutional Committee in cooperation with our UN colleagues, and, of course, being in touch with the Syrian government and the opposition. We are certain that the creation of this committee will finally make it possible to launch the Geneva process our Western and other counterparts are talking about so much," Lavrov added.

In the same context, Cavusoglu complained that the US has yet to develop “any kind of strategy in Syria” after President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from the country.

Cavusoglu noted that Turkey continues its talks with the US on establishing a demilitarized zone in northwestern Syria, in coordination with Russian partners.

He also stressed that Moscow and Ankara are committed to Syria’s territorial integrity.

The Turkish FM added that the US has provided weapons to “terrorist groups” - in reference to the People's Protection Units (YPG) – which have sold most of the arms.

Further, Turkey and Russia criticized the US decision to recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, saying it was against international law.

"We definitely do not recognize such a decision and such a signature of US President Donald Trump because it is against international law and UN resolutions. These are the territories of Syria," Cavusoglu said.

He said the US decision did not contribute to regional peace and stability. "On the contrary, it creates unrest and chaos in the region."

Lavrov, for his part, also said that Russia did not recognize the decision, adding: "This is against international law. All kinds of international law were violated and broken."

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