Published: Tue, October 30, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Putin urges Syria Constitutional Committee to commence work

Putin urges Syria Constitutional Committee to commence work

As discussions wound down Saturday, Turkish state television showed Erdogan, Macron, Russian President Vladmir Putin and Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel strolling through the gardens of an Ottoman-era mansion toward, looking relaxed and ignoring the cameras.

Turkey fired on USA -backed Syrian Kurdish militants in northern Syria on Sunday, moving ahead with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's vow to rout them from his country's southern border.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that the global community would be watching to make sure that Russian Federation and Turkey respect an agreement they have negotiated to create a demilitarized zone in Syria's Idlib region.

Merkel, meanwhile, said the leaders "have the duty to prevent another humanitarian disaster".

As the President said, the returns process must begin "safe and voluntary" and to be "coordinated with the United Nations".

At a closing news conference, participants reiterated years-long calls for a political, not military, solution. Refugees and IDPs should have the right to safe and voluntary return to their places of origin, they must be guaranteed protection, including from political persecution and arbitrary arrests, the document says.

However, whether or not those forced to flee the country would be allowed to vote in a future election was left for the separate press conferences.

She said that at the end of this political process, there must be free elections to which all Syrians have access - including the diaspora.

Erdogan, a vocal opponent of Assad, agreed, saying that Syrians "inside and outside" the country must decide the president's fate. On Friday he said he was giving the YPG a "final warning".

The White Helmets, a civil defence group operating in rebel-held parts of Syria, also reported the same death toll, as cited by Anadolu news agency.

The leaders of the four countries gathered in Istanbul at the weekend for the first global summit on the conflict since a deal was drawn up last month for a ceasefire in Idlib, the last rebel-controlled province.

France has repeatedly stressed that the cease-fire in Idlib was "fragile" and needed to be strengthened, and considered the summit an "opportunity" to support the formation of a constitution drafting committee in Syria. Analysts say that it was possible because the U.S. and the United Kingdom were not involved. The corresponding statement was published on the website of the Kremlin.

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