The 20th Astana Talks on Syria concluded on Wednesday, resulting in a joint statement issued by Turkey, Russia, Syria, and Iran, which primarily focused on their strong opposition to the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES).
The guarantor countries expressed their disapproval of the “illegal seizure” and transfer of oil revenues designated for Syria, specifically denouncing nations supporting “terrorists,” with the AANES being singled out.
In addition to addressing the conflicts between Israel and Syria, the countries condemned Israeli attacks and emphasised the importance of upholding international law.
During the talks, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Kanat Tumysh, unexpectedly proposed ending the Astana meetings, suggesting that Syria’s reintegration into the Arab League signalled the completion of the Astana process. The Kazakh capital Astana has been hosting these meetings since 2017, focused on Syrian peace talks. However, Russia, Iran, and Turkey expressed their opposition to terminating the negotiations in a joint statement following the talks. They indicated a willingness to consider an alternative venue if Kazakhstan chose to relocate the talks.
Throughout the Astana Talks, the participants reiterated their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They also addressed concerns regarding the humanitarian situation resulting from the February earthquakes in Syria.
Significant progress was made in developing a roadmap to normalise relations between Syria and Turkey, particularly focusing on creating favourable conditions for the return of Syrian refugees, revitalising the political process, and ensuring the unhindered flow of humanitarian aid, as outlined in the joint statement.
The participating countries also criticised nations supporting the AANES, firmly rejecting any initiatives of self-administration. They expressed their opposition to resolving the Syrian conflict through military action and reiterated their commitment to the political process outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
The facilitation of the safe return of refugees and the protection of their right to return were identified as crucial topics of discussion. The next trilateral summit among Turkey, Russia, and Iran is scheduled to take place in Russia.