No: 396, 22 December 2017, Press Release Regarding The Conclusions Of The 8th High Level Astana Meeting

Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 22.12.2017

The eighth round of the high-level Astana meetings on Syria was held on 21-22 December 2017. At the meeting, the steps taken by Turkey, the Russian Federation and Iran for the implementation of the de-escalation memorandum, in particular the Idlib de-escalation area, were reviewed; within the framework of introducing confidence-building measures between the conflicting parties, two documents were adopted on the release of detainees/abductees and on the conduct of humanitarian demining activities; the “Syrian National Dialogue Congress” was declared to be held in Sochi on 29-30 January 2018 and a decision was made to hold a preparatory meeting in Sochi prior to the Congress with the participation of the three states.

We welcome the adoption, at the eighth Astana meeting, of the regulation on the creation of a working group with a view to ensuring the mutual release of detainees/abductees by the conflicting parties as part of confidence-building measures. Being one of the most important expectations of the Syrian opposition from the Astana talks and pending for a long time on the Astana agenda, this file has finally been concluded thanks to the relentless efforts of our country. This regulation constitutes another major achievement in the Astana talks.

Created in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 which establishes the parameters for a political solution to the Syrian conflict, the working group will function with the participation of the guarantor states as well as the UN and hold its first meeting on the margins of the next Astana meeting.

We hope that the working group will contribute to shedding light on the fate of our Syrian brothers who have been detained or become missing during the seven-year-long Syrian conflict, and function as an important confidence-building measure.

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