Russia will host Putin-Erdogan-Rouhani summit early 2019

The last meeting between Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan took place in Iran in September. (File/AFP)
Updated 28 December 2018

Russia will host Putin-Erdogan-Rouhani summit early 2019

  • The Astana process was launched after Russia’s military intervention in Syria tipped the balance in the Damascus regime’s favor
  • The last meeting between Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan took place in Iran in September

MOSCOW: Russia said Friday it will host a three-way summit with Turkey and Iran on the Syrian conflict early next year, after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voiced skepticism about an announced withdrawal of US forces.

“It's our turn to host the summit... around the first week of the year. This will depend on the schedules of the presidents” of the three countries, deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov was cited as saying by Interfax news agency.

The last meeting between Russia's Vladimir Putin, Iran's Hassan Rouhani and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan took place in Iran in September.

Lavrov refused to comment Friday on the US announcement, saying he was “waiting for actions to follow words.”

US President Donald Trump has said he will withdraw 2,000 US soldiers deployed in Syria, claiming that Daesh there had been defeated.

“The Americans don't always do what they promise, far from it,” Lavrov said. “Washington clearly wants to pass on the responsibilities on the ground to its partners in the coalition.”

A Turkish delegation that includes Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar is due in Moscow on Saturday to discuss the US pullout.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov hailed the entry on Friday by Syrian forces into the key northern city of Manbij for the first time in six years after Kurds opened the gates.

“Of course, this will help in stabilizing the situation. The enlargement of the zone under the control of government forces... is without doubt a positive trend,” he said.

Kurdish forces who were left exposed by Trump's pledge to withdraw US troops have asked the Syrian regime for help to face a threatened Turkish offensive.

Ankara is opposed to Kurdish control of Syrian territory close to its border, saying it helps Kurdish separatists inside Turkey.

Peskov said the Turkish ministers' visit to Moscow would serve to “clarify” the situation and “synchronize actions” between the two countries.

A three-way summit in January would be the latest step in the Astana peace process -- set up in early 2017 by Russia and Iran, who support President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria, and opposition backer Turkey.

The Astana process was launched after Russia's military intervention in Syria tipped the balance in the Damascus regime's favor.

Lavrov said the “ultimate goal” of the Astana process is to “restore peace in Syria, with all ethnic and religious groups at ease and at peace, including the Kurds of course.”


Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

Updated 18 August 2019

Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

  • Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa

AMMAN: Jordan has stepped up its diplomatic pressure on Israel, demanding that they do not change the status quo at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Zaid Lozi, director-general of Jordan’s Foreign Ministry, summoned Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Amir Weissbrod to protest Israel’s actions in Jerusalem.

According to Petra News, Lozi told the envoy that recent remarks by Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Ardan over changing the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque are unacceptable. Lozi added that the mosque is a place of worship for Muslims only.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi addressed a group of EU ambassadors in Amman and “stressed the urgency of effective international steps against Israel’s violations of Holy Sites in occupied Jerusalem.”

Safadi told Arab News that the situation in Jerusalem is challenging and must be addressed. He said that he will present a detailed report on Jordan’s position to Parliament on Monday.

The ministry denounced the Israeli authorities’ closure of the mosque’s gates and demanded that Israel respects its obligations in accordance with international humanitarian law.

HIGHLIGHT

• Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Hatem Abdel Qader, a member of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, told Arab News that Israeli authorities had been attempting to enforce major changes at the mosque.

“Security forces barged into the mosque yesterday. They went to the Bab Al-Rahmeh Mosque where they confiscated carpets and the closet where shoes are kept.”

Jordan’s diplomatic statements follow comments by Ardan, who said that Israel is disappointed with the current state of affairs at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

According to Israeli officials, the mosque area is sovereign Israeli territory, despite it being administered by Jordan. Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Qader said that Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa.

“There appears to have been a gradual deterioration of Arab and Islamic support to Jordan. It surprises me that Muslims have been quiet, perhaps they see an advantage if Jordan’s role is diminished? If true, this would be dangerous.”

Qader, a former minister in the Palestinian government and a current member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Arab News that Jordan’s position “guarantees continuation of the status quo.”