Turkey to host Syria summit with Russia, Iran on September 16

The leaders also met in February. The Ankara meeting will be the fifth between them since 2017. (File/AFP)
Updated 22 August 2019
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Turkey to host Syria summit with Russia, Iran on September 16

  • The summit will be in Ankara
  • The leaders will discuss the situation in Idlib and the political situation

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will host his Russian and Iranian counterparts for a summit on Syria in Ankara on September 16, the presidential spokesman said.
Despite being on opposing sides in the Syrian conflict, Syria regime backers Iran and Russia have worked closely with rebel supporter Turkey to find a political solution.
“The president will host a three-way summit with the participation of Russia and Iran in Ankara,” spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said late Wednesday.
The announcement of the meeting between President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Erdogan comes at a time when Syrian forces have made advances into the last rebel stronghold of Idlib in Syria’s northwest.
The region, which has been under heavy bombardment since April, was supposed to be protected by a buffer zone deal signed between Turkey and Russia last year.
The leaders will discuss Idlib, as well as the establishment of a constitution commission and how the political process should continue, Kalin said.
Turkey is keen to prevent a large-scale offensive in Idlib — home to three million people — where Turkey has 12 observation posts.
The last meeting between the leaders was in February and the September event will be the fifth summit between Putin, Rouhani and Erdogan since November 2017.
Kalin said Erdogan would speak on the phone with Putin in the coming days, adding that preparations were being made for another call with US President Donald Trump.


Migrant workers still exploited in World Cup host Qatar: Amnesty

Updated 19 September 2019

Migrant workers still exploited in World Cup host Qatar: Amnesty

PARIS: Qatar is not fulfilling all its promises to improve the conditions of migrant workers in the country in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup, Amnesty International said Thursday.
In a report entitled "All Work, No Pay", the rights group said: "Despite the significant promises of reform which Qatar has made ahead of the 2022 World Cup, it remains a playground for unscrupulous employers."
The report came as French President Emmanuel Macron and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani were due to meet in Paris on Thursday.
Sheikh Tamim also attended Wednesday's high-profile clash between Paris Saint-Germain -- owned by Qatar's state-owned investment fund -- and Real Madrid.
Doha has made efforts since being named World Cup hosts to improve the conditions of the migrant workers who make up a majority of the Gulf emirate's population.
In November 2017, a temporary $200 monthly minimum wage was introduced for most categories of workers with a permanent level expected to be set before the end of the year.
Exit visas granted at the discretion of employers, required by some workers to leave the country, should be entirely scrapped by the end of 2019 according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).
But Amnesty reported challenges faced by hundreds of workers at three construction and cleaning companies in Qatar who went unpaid for months.
"Migrant workers often go to Qatar in the hope of giving their families a better life; instead many people return home penniless after spending months chasing their wages, with too little help from the systems that are supposed to protect them," said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty's deputy director of global issues.
After coming under fire over the treatment of migrant workers, Qatar agreed with the ILO in 2017 to undertake labour reforms, including establishing new dispute resolution committees.
"We are urging the Qatari authorities to fully deliver what has been promised and end the shameful reality of labour exploitation," Cockburn said.
Amnesty cited the case of a Kenyan employee of United Cleaning who said he had to rummage for food in garbage bins after receiving no salary for five months.
The man said he had worked for two years and five months for the company without taking any holidays and was owed "a lot of money".
The companies all cited financial difficulties for the non-payment of wages, according to the report.
A Qatar government spokesman said the country had "made substantial progress on labour reforms".
"We continue to work with NGOs, including the ILO, to ensure that these reforms are far-reaching and effective," he said in a statement.
"Any issues or delays with our systems will be addressed comprehensively. We have said, from the outset that this would take time, resources and commitment."