- December 20, 2016: Russia,Iran,Turkey: Guarantors of the Moscow Declaration
- December 26/2016 A Ceasefire In Syria? - Not if the US & co Have Their Way!
- December 28/2016: Turkey, Russia & Iran Build Anticipation In Advance of Ceasefire
Breaking news the last hour or so..
MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. Agreements have been achieved on a ceasefire in Syria and the readiness to start peace talks, according to Vladimir Putin.
"Reports have just arrived that several hours ago there was a development that we all have looked and worked for for so long. Three documents have been signed. A ceasefire between the Syrian government and the armed opposition is the one. A package of measures to control the ceasefire is the other. There is also a declaration of readiness to enter peace talks on Syrian conflict settlement," Putin said at a meeting with Russian foreign and defense ministers.
Russia, Turkey, Iran undertake commitments to guarantee peaceful settlement in Syria. The deal is the result of Russia’s cooperation with partners in the region, Putin emphasized.
"No doubt, the agreements reached are fragile and demand special attention and assistance with the goal of preservation and development. But nevertheless, this is a notable result of our joint work, efforts of the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and our partners in the regions," Putin said at the meeting with the foreign and defense ministers.
Putin said the Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry were constantly in a contact with partners in Damascus and other capitals. "They did a very great job jointly with partners from Turkey. We know that most recently a trilateral meeting of foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran was held in Moscow where the three countries undertook commitments both on control and guarantees of peaceful settlement in the Syrian Republic."
"As we understand very well, all the agreements reached are very fragile, they demand special attention and patience, a professional approach to these issues and a constant contact with our partners," Putin stressedUPDATE # 1:
Putin Speaks- Russian only
“This agreement we’ve reached is very fragile, as we all understand. They require special attention and patience, professional attitude, and constant contact with our partners,” Putin said
“The first was signed by the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition to stop hostilities in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic. The second one is a set of measures to control the ceasefire. The third document is a declaration of intention for Syrian settlement,” the Russian president saidWe welcome the understanding reached between the conflicting/warring parties in Syria on a country-wide ceasefire.— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) December 29, 2016
The agreement is the result of joint efforts by Russia, Turkey, and Iran, the president said.
“Great work has been done in cooperation with our partners from Turkey. We know that only recently there was a trilateral meeting in Moscow of the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey, and Iran, where all of the nations made obligations not only to control, but also to act as guarantors of the peace process in Syria.”
The truce is supported by seven major armed opposition groups that have over 60,000 fighters in their ranks, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said.
The minister said under the deal any armed group that refuses to cease hostilities would be considered a legitimate target for the use of force, as is the case with terrorist groups Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front, which are not included in the truce. Shoigu added that if the agreement holds, it would allow Russia to scale down its military presence in Syria.
He added that he will contact his Iranian and Turkish counterparts to discuss further steps in the Syrian peace process.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the three nations are preparing a meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, to pave the way for peace talks on Syria.
Lavrov said that the ceasefire agreement would be submitted to the UN Security Council later on Thursday for potential endorsement.(RT's reporting, but, doesn't appear to be what Lavrov is saying? I wouldn't think they need the UN's endorsement or approval)
“We will inform UNSC members of the work we have done and answer their questions,” the Russian foreign minister said.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that Turkey and Russia will act as guarantors of the truce, which does not include groups designated as terrorists by the United Nations.
Ankara has called on all parties that can exert influence on armed groups to support the ceasefire deal.
Damascus has confirmed that it will observe the truce starting at midnight local time on December 30 (22:00 GMT December 29).
The rebel National Coalition announced its support for the ceasefire deal, AFP reported. Zakaria Malahifji, who represents the Free Syrian Army-affiliated rebel group Fastaqim, has confirmed supporting the truce to Reuters.
Update # 2:
The draft text of just one of the three documents signed - Set of Measures to Control the Ceasefire
Pretty straightforward stuff.
The text is not the final version signed by the all parties, the channel said in its web page, citing Bassam Barabandi, the senior advisor to the opposition High Negotiations Committee.
According to the channel, Hadi Al Bahra, spokesperson of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), also confirmed the document. "Daesh and groups designated by the UN as terror organisations would be excluded from the deal," Al Bahra was quoted as saying in the piece.
The translation of the text is as follows:
1- A ceasefire in all Syrian territory excluding military HQs in areas under Daesh control. The ceasefire will continue as long as the political process is ongoing.
2- The Turkish government guarantees the commitment of the opposition in all the areas that the opposition controls to the ceasefire, including an end to any type of shelling.
3- The Russian Federation guarantees the commitment to the ceasefire, including all types of aerial bombardment and artillery shelling, of the Syrian gov't and its allies in all the territory that they control.
4- The guarantors of the agreement will ensure that the parties in the conflict will not attempt to seize new areas that were not under their control prior to the ceasefire.
5- The guarantors of the agreement will present an appropriate mechanism to monitor the ceasefire based on UN frameworks after the parties agree to these terms.
6- Negotiations will begin as to a political solution one month into the ceasefire.Update # 3:
7- Humanitarian aid will be delivered to all of the besieged areas according to a plan where Russia and Turkey will guarantee full compliance.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin also spoke Thursday on the phone regarding the developments. The two leaders reportedly discussed the cease-fire and the Astana process. The ceasefire will be in effect on December 30
Italy: (no doubt speaking on behalf of the US)- UN Talks Only Solution for Syria
Only talks at the United Nations can pave the way for a solution to the Syrian crisis, Premier Paolo Gentiloni said Thursday. The only "credible" way forward, he said, "can only be opening serious talks on the transition handled by the UN. "It is very hard to imagine a different solution, we have to get there and I hope Russia helps arrive at this solution: the UN, transition, and dialogue between Bashar al-Assad and the oppositions". Gentiloni said "certainly we have behind us dramatic months and months of diplomatic failures, to be frank.
Gentiloni said "we had a format born in February in Munich and which seemed very promising, 18 countries including Italy around the table, at the head were Lavrov and Kerry and around it Iranians, Turks, Saudis, the different subjects we had to involve to reach peace.
"This operation initially produced results...but then what happened? I must say that many worked against this US-Russian collaboration".I addressed the inevitable machinations that will be engaged in to undermine this agreement in my December 26th post- A Ceasefire In Syria? - Not if the US & co Have Their Way!
Gentiloni is regurgitating John Kirby's previous sputum:
John Kirby said "we believe that this process should continue to be under UN auspices and that should be led by Staffan de Mistura."As I pointed out three days ago...
"And it is up to him to determine where and how and when they will occur, not to the United States; we’re not taking a position on that," he said”
Why should this or any decision be made by the UN Envoy? It seems that negotiators from Iran, Turkey, Russia and Syria are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves. No need to be dictated to.. The entire UN process has been a fail! Staffan de Mistura has been a total fail. Geneva has been a fail.
It really appears the US is determined to turn the potential ceasefire into yet another one of their fails!
Pushing for UN involvement only makes sense in the context of the US wanting this agreement and a potential Syria wide ceasefire to fail!