Talks continue on Syrian constitutional committee

Parties express satisfaction on progress towards establishment of a constitutional committee, says Turkish Foreign Ministry

All parties in the 13th round of Syria peace talks held in Kazakhstan expressed satisfaction on the progress towards the establishment of the constitutional committee in Syria, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

"The thirteenth round of the high-level meetings on Syria was held on August 1-2, 2019 in Nur-Sultan. Developments on the ground, particularly in the Idlib de-escalation area and efforts to find a political solution to the conflict were discussed in the meeting," the ministry said in a statement.

"In the meeting, the parties expressed satisfaction on the progress towards the establishment of the Constitutional Committee. They reiterated their commitment to conclude the formation of the Committee at the earliest and to convene it in Geneva," it said.

The ministry highlighted Turkey's support to the ongoing efforts in close coordination with the Syrian opposition and the United Nations.

The ministry also said the parties reiterated "their commitment to the Sochi Memorandum of September 17, 2018" in order to preserve Idlib's de-escalation area status and to stabilize the region.

The parties deplored the increasing civilian casualties as a result of the attacks and agreed to take concrete steps for securing their military personnel in the area, according to the ministry.

"Turkey has expressed grave concern for regime's deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure under the pretext of combating terrorism and has stressed its expectation that these attacks must cease immediately," it added.

The parties also rejected separatist agendas that pose a threat to the political unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to the national security of the neighbouring countries, the ministry said.

The parties stressed their objection to all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism, including illegitimate self-rule initiatives, it added.

The ministry said, the Working Group on the Release of Detainees/Abductees, Handover of Bodies and Identification of Missing Persons convened on the sidelines of the meeting.

Turkey stressed its expectation to respect the working group's rules of procedure for future operations of mutual and simultaneous release of persons detained by the opposition groups and the regime.

The participation of neighbouring countries, Iraq and Lebanon, for the first time to the high-level meetings on Syria as observers were welcomed by the parties.

Source: TRT World and Agencies