Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that Moscow must avoid Syrian regime forces’ violation to the Russian and Turkey jointly brokered nationwide cease-fire. Speaking in New York on Thursday after a meeting with the United Nations’ newly appointed Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Çavuşoğlu told reporters he was worried about the cease-fire breaches, which was endorsed over the weekend by the U.N. Security Council (UNSC).
“They need to stop the regime and the affiliated groups,” Çavuşoğlu said. “Everybody must keep their word and show that they stand by the obligations they undertook,” he added. The foreign minister said all of the violations were committed by the regime, adding that Ankara was doing its best to keep the opposition fighters from retaliating. “However, this will be extremely difficult if the other side keeps doing this. We need to recognize this reality,” he said.
The Foreign Minister also said the cease-fire violations in Syria are the main obstacle to holding peace negotiations later this month, and he called on the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on those continuing the violence. “All the violations, including the bombardments, are by the regime or its supporters or other groups,” Çavusoglu said. “This is not acceptable. So this is the main obstacle.” On Monday about 10 Syrian opposition groups announced they were suspending talks regarding the planned peace negotiations this month in the Kazakh capital of Astana due to cease-fire “violations” by the Assad regime. Thus, Çavusoglu said another obstacle is the composition of the negotiating teams for the Astana talks, which under the deal that was signed is up to the regime and the opposition to decide.
Meanwhile U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has been invited to participate in the peace talks over the Syrian conflict, which will be held in Astana. RIA Novosti referred to Russian Permanent Representative in U.N. Vitaliy Churkin. “He has been invited. I am not sure if he will come but some of his colleagues will definitely be there,” Vitaliy Churkin told journalists. Churkin did not explain what part other countries were going to play in this process, particularly in the dialogue platform in Astana, but he noted that Russia welcomed “any positive role.”