Turkey, Russia, Qatar foreign ministers push for political resolution in Syria

Reuters reports that Turkey, Russia and Qatar are making a joint attempt to promote a political solution to Syria’s 10-year conflict.

Turkey and Qatar have backed fighters who sought to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Moscow provided military support which helped Assad seize back most of the country.

“Today we launched a new trilateral consultation process,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said after talks in Doha on Thursday [11 March 2021] with Russian and Qatari foreign ministers. “Our goal is to discuss how we can contribute to efforts towards a lasting political solution in Syria.”

Since 2017, efforts to reduce fighting in Syria and identify a political solution have involved Turkey, Russia and Iran. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the three countries were not seeking to replace these efforts, but that he could “only welcome Qatar’s desire to make its contribution to creating the conditions for overcoming the current tragic situation in Syria”.

The three foreign ministers stressed their commitment to preserving Syria’s independence and territorial integrity, a message seen by some as aimed at the United States support for the Syrian Kurds’ autonomous government in the oil-rich northeast of the country.

Turkey is to host the next round of the talks.

Meanwhile the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said on Wednesday [10 March 2021] that Syria faces “a living nightmare” 10 years after peaceful demonstrations were violently suppressed setting the country on “a horrific path” of destruction and bloodshed. He urged all parties to take a first step toward peace and negotiate a new constitution.

Guterres said the United Nations will continue to pursue a negotiated political settlement to the Syrian conflict based on a Security Council resolution adopted in December 2015 that unanimously endorsed a road map to peace in Syria approved in Geneva on June 30, 2012 by representatives of the United Nations, Arab League, European Union, Turkey and all five permanent Security Council members — the U.S., Russia, China, France and Britain.

It calls for a Syrian-led political process starting with the establishment of a transitional governing body, followed by the drafting of a new constitution and ending with U.N.-supervised elections.

At a Russian-hosted Syrian peace conference in January 2018, an agreement was reached to form a 150-member committee to draft a new constitution, which took until September 2019. After five rounds of preliminary committee discussions aimed at revising Syria’s constitution, U.N. special envoy Geir Pedersen told the council last month that there has been no progress.

Read more:

Turkey, Russia, Qatar to push for political resolution in Syria (Reuters)
UN chief: Syria in `living nightmare’ after 10 years of war (AP)
UNICEF: Syria’s war has killed and wounded 12,000 children (AP)
Analysis: Syria’s peace process and the Russian and US roles (Al Jazeera)
Turkey, Russia, Qatar push for unlikely new Syria peace track (Al Monitor)