The foreign ministers of Turkey, Russia and Iran have stressed continuity of their efforts to have a positive impact on the resolution of the Syrian war and decreasing violence.
The three guarantor countries published a joint statement on Friday after the trilateral meeting in the Kazakh capital of Astana, citing their "commitment to territorial integrity and the independence of Syria."
The statement said: "The progress prompted by the eight meetings in Astana is welcomed" and added that there is a need for momentum to find a political solution. It also said that the next meeting in Astana would be held in mid-May.
Speaking at a j
oint news conference in Astana after the meeting, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called for a cease-fire in Eastern Ghouta, as many civilians have lost their lives in the latest attacks.
"I talked with my two counterparts to make the situation better in Eastern Ghouta, which was caused by the [Syrian] regime. We underlined the need to differentiate terrorists from civilians," Çavuşoğlu said.
He said that there is a need to have different strategies for neutralizing terrorists, especially in places with dense civilian concentrations. "We are also against all terrorists going to Idlib. There they constitute a threat to the people, the opposition and all of us," he said. "We welcome the efforts of Russia in providing humanitarian aid, but we need to stress that it is insufficient. We need to be more determined to immediately convey humanitarian aid to the regions regardless of the besieged areas without obstacles."
Çavuşoğlu said they are sensitive to civilians in Eastern Ghouta, al-Foua, Kefraya and east of the Euphrates River.
He said that a lasting solution is required for the Syrian war and that the situation on the ground is better now when compared to previous periods with the de-escalation zones created with the Astana process.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed the significance of the Astana talks and added that "some countries that want the partition of Syria cannot accept the cooperation between Turkey, Russia and Iran.
"This meeting proves that we want to cooperate to resolve the Syrian crisis."
Lavrov also said that the three parties agreed on the upcoming summit, which will be held on April 4 in Istanbul. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that Tehran considers the Astana process as the only successful step to stop the war in Syria.
Turkey, Iran and Russia launched a Syrian peace process in Astana to complement the U.N.-brokered talks in Geneva to bring an end to the seven-year conflict in the country.
The three countries held a series of summits in Russia's Black Se
a city of Sochi,to bring together the conflicting parties in Syria.
Last year, Turkey, Iran and Russia agreed in Astana to establish de-escalation zones in the northern province of Idlib and parts of neighboring Latakia, Hama and Aleppo.
Under the Astana agreement, Turkey is to gradually establish 12 observation points from Idlib's north to south to monitor and sustain the current cease-fire agreement for the de-escalation zones, deliver humanitarian aid and ensure the secure return of displaced people. In the Astana meeting, the foreign ministers of the three countries pointed to the positive results of the de-escalation zones and decided to continue with the process.
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