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The Middle East various wars and crises are being progressively stabilised, as seen through the previous related signals over the last weeks. Meanwhile, the influence map in the region and worldwide is also being redrawn. There is still a long way to go to see a real constructive peace settling over the region. In the near future domestic governance, considering all actors, and delivering multidimensional security will be crucial. Probably terrorist attacks and tensions will flare up at times, but, nonetheless, stabilisation is at work.
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Syria is now the focus, as expected, with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visit to Sochi and meeting with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin on 20 November. Phone discussions between President Putin with the leaders of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and, of course, the US, ensure that the major actors are not only consulted but also involved. This prepares the next step, which will be the 22 November tripartite meeting at leaders level on the Astana format (Russia, Iran, Turkey). Ministers of Foreign Affairs are preparing the meeting in Antalya. Meanwhile, Chiefs of Staff (military) will also meet.
Meanwhile, on 22-23 November a meeting of the “Er-Riyad opposition group” should take place in Riyadh, with a Russian presence through President Putin Special Representative Lavrentiev.
To start the 20 November meeting, President Putin stressed notably that he wanted to hear President al-Assad’s views on the organisation of the political process (that would lead to peace), including the holding of a People Congress (which is promoted by Russia, as Russia favours the establishment of a Federal Syria), and that these developments had to be made under the auspices of the UN.
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Bashar al-Assad, thanking Russian efforts, confirmed his interest in a political process and that a National Dialogue Congress would be held.
This meeting and notably its content are thus a milestone, not only for peace in Syria, but also for a peace that will recognise the Kurds as well as other peoples and their specificities in Syria. We may thus estimate that the likelihood to see a Federal Syria being reborn out of the destruction of civil war has increased.
The next challenges will be, on the one hand, to convince Turkey that this future Federal Syria, with an autonomous Kurdish-led Federation of Northern Syria is not a threat to its national security. On the other, a solution satisfying all actors will also have to be found as far as the presence of Hezbollah and Iran within a future peaceful Syria is concerned, as was made clear by recent developments around the Lebanese “Habibi crisis”.
Featured image: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visits Russia on a working visit– 20 November 2017 – Kremlin.ru – C.C 0.4.
Vladimir Putin also introduced Bashar al-Assad to senior officials of the Russian Defence Ministry and the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces who were in Sochi to attend another series of meetings on military construction and the State Armament Programme.
Hande Fırat – ANKARA Turkey, Russia and Iran will hold a high-level summit in Sochi on Nov. 22 to discuss the situation in Syria’s Afrin and Idlib regions, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, reiterated Ankara’s opposition to the invitation of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) to any meeting on the future of Syria.