Qatar, Russia, and Turkey announce new Syria peace initiative

Qatar, Russia, and Turkey announce new Syria peace initiative
3 min read
11 March, 2021
Sergey Lavrov is engaged in a tour of the Gulf, visiting key regional leaders.
The ministers announced a new joint effort on Syria [Getty]
Qatar, Turkey, and Russia's foreign ministers announced a joint effort to end the ten-year war in Syria during a press conference in Doha on Thursday.

Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani hosted Russia's Sergey Lavrov and Turkey's
Mevlut Cavusoglu in Doha for talks on the conflict in Syria, which marks its ten year anniversary this month.

Russia and Turkey - along with Iran - have their own mechanism to discuss Syria-related matters - known as the Astana Process - but the new effort looks to widen international cooperation, particularly on humanitarian matters.

"Today we launched a new trilateral consultation process," Cavusoglu said, according to Reuters.

"Our goal is to discuss how we can contribute to efforts towards a lasting political solution in Syria."

While Russia is a key backer of Bashar Al-Assad's regime both Turkey and Qatar have supported the Syrian opposition, leading to the surprise announcement of a joint peace effort.

Russia's foreign minister, who has embarked on a tour of the Gulf region, welcomed the tripartite peace effort.

"I can only welcome Qatar's desire to make its contribution to creating the conditions for overcoming the current tragic situation in Syria," he said, according to the agency.

The foreign ministers issued a joint statement for a political solution to the conflict based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and Geneva Communique of 2012 - the international framework for ending the war in Syria.

"The Ministers emphasised their commitment to preserving the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic in accordance with the UN Charter," the statement read,

"[And] expressed their conviction that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict, and reaffirming their commitment to advancing a political process facilitated by the United Nations to support the Syrian parties to reach a political solution."

The three foreign ministers discussed humanitarian access to Syria, where poverty and the Covid-19 epidemic are creating extreme hardships for Syrians.

"There is a crucial need to lessen the suffering of the Syrians," said Qatar's Sheikh Mohammed.

Russia has been criticised for vetoing aid access to some areas of Syria held by anti-Assad and Kurdish forces. The Moscow-backed Syrian regime has also engaged in "starvation sieges" on opposition territories in Syria.

The three ministers called on the UN and WHO to prioritise Syria with aid and Covid-19 vaccine distribution.

Turkey's foreign minister said Ankara will host the next round of talks on the Syria issue.

Lavrov has embarked a tour of the Gulf, beginning with a visit to the UAE on Wednesday where he met Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. 

Later on Wednesday, Lavrov met his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah Al-Saud in Riyadh where the two ministers discussed joint oil output limits.

Lavrov also met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in what is viewed by some as a charm offensive in the Gulf amid uncertainty about Joe Biden's new administration in the US.

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