Summit in Istanbul
29 October 2018

Syria summit: a useful step forward for talks

On 27 October 2018, the President of the Republic, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan gathered in Istanbul for a summit on Syria. This summit demonstrates the need to bring together the different formats that exist on the Syrian conflict. These talks must now be translated into practice.
This summit marks a positive step forward on the approach to be taken, with the rapprochement between the Small Group (which includes France and Germany) and the Astana Group (of which Russia and Turkey are key members alongside Iran) – a rapprochement which France has been seeking for several months.

On all the issues raised, the summit has proved to be a useful step forward for talks, allowing progress to be made towards resolving the conflict:
  • On the situation in Idlib, assurances were given by Russia and Turkey on securing a lasting ceasefire. This is a key point since a military offensive by the Syrian regime with the support of its sponsors would have unacceptable security and humanitarian consequences. France will be extremely vigilant in ensuring that these commitments are fully upheld.
  • On the political process, on which no progress has been made in recent months, France has reaffirmed its willingness to revive international negotiations, in particular by allowing the Constitutional Committee, under the auspices of the UN, to begin its work before the end of the year, if conditions allow. The Syrian people must be allowed to decide their own future under credible conditions, which means through free and transparent elections carried out under international supervision.
  • On humanitarian matters, France has reaffirmed its willingness to pursue joint efforts in Eastern Ghouta with Russia and Turkey to obtain humanitarian access to civilian populations and achieve stability on the ground. The President of the Republic reiterated that the deliberate blocking of humanitarian aid is not acceptable.
  • On the subject of the return of refugees, Emmanuel Macron stated that there will be no return of refugees unless there is commitment to the political process. If progress is made in this respect, France will be ready to work on the return of refugees, under the conditions set by the High Commissioner for Refugees (for the safe, dignified and voluntary return of refugees).
These talks are a commitment by all those involved in this summit: they must now be translated into practice. France will be particularly vigilant with regard to their implementation.


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