Erdogan stresses withdrawal of heavy weapons from center of Idlib

TEHRAN, Oct. 27 (MNA) – Turkish President Erdogan called for the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the center of Idlib in a joint press conference after a 4-way Syria summit in Istanbul, with Russian, German and French leaders.

According to Anadolu news agency, the four-nation summit on Syria between Turkey, Russia, Germany, and France ended in Istanbul on Saturday. 

The summit was hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Vahdettin Pavilion in the city's Uskudar district and was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron, and lasted two hours and 45 minutes.

Speaking at a joint press conference after the summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the summit was aimed at reaching a full cease-fire to halt bloodshed in Syria.

He said Astana peace process for the Syrian conflict had set an example to the international community in efforts to solve the crisis, adding that Turkey, Russia, Germany, and France had "fruitful and sincere" consultations during Saturday's summit in Istanbul.

"The main reason why Syrian conflict became global menace is that the international community did not respond adequately," Erdogan told the news conference.

Erdogan said the Istanbul summit called for the completion of the establishment of the committee tasked with writing a new constitution for Syria as soon as possible.

"We are determined to continue our efforts to find a solution to the issue based on the Astana platform and wider platforms like today's summit in Istanbul," Erdogan said.

"We have agreed to boost the cooperation between our four countries and at the international level," Erdogan said.

Regarding the political future of Syria, Erdogan said "the fate of Bashar al-Assad will not be decided by individuals but Syrian people."  

Erdogan reiterated Turkey's expectations for the EU to fulfill its commitments over sharing fairly the burden of helping Syrian refugees.

The Turkish president underlined that Turkey will continue to eliminate threats to its national security in the east of Euphrates as well as in its west in Syria.

"Turkey will not tolerate any terrorist group along its borders or in any part of Syria," Erdogan said.

Speaking next at the presser, President Vladimir Putin said Russia counted on Turkey for the withdrawal of the opposition forces from the buffer zone in Syria's Idlib.

He said the international community should put joint efforts for Syria, adding that Russia and Turkey invited France and Germany to hold an international conference on the crisis.

Putin said Russia reserved "right to help Damascus to eliminate terrorists in Idlib in case of any provocation."

He said a Syrian constitutional committee will be functional by the end of the year.

French President Emmanuel Macron, for his part, said the restructuring of an inclusive Syria is very important, adding that the Syrian people must have a say on their own future.

"It is not our business to decide for Syria but we can help Syrians make decisions about their future. We need to set up the conditions for Syrians to vote and determine their own future," he said.

He said a permanent and sustainable ceasefire in Syria's Idlib is extremely important, while claiming that the Syrian government's military approach is not contributing to ensuring stability in Syria.

Macron further said the repatriation of the Syrian refugees cannot be viable and inclusive without a political solution.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for her part, said "we have committed ourselves to do everything to achieve a sustainable, permanent ceasefire in Idlib."

Merkel noted that there should be free elections in Syria, adding that all Syrians, including those in the diaspora, should be able to cast their ballots.

MNA/PR

News Code 139104

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