Astana 8 regulates mine clearance, prisoner exchange in Syria

MNA – After the 8th round of Syrian Peace Process talk were held in Astana, the participants agreed on a set of regulations to figure out the situation in the war-torn country.

At the end of the recently held Astana talks round 8, the participants agreed on regulations how to exchange detainees, bodies, and abductees and how to treat mine fields and mine-filled UNESCO monuments in Syria.

Here comes the full text of agreements:

Working Group on the release of detainees/abductees and handover of the bodies as well as the identification of missing persons

With reference to the UN Security Council resolution 2254(2015), the Working Group is created in order to improve the humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic.

The objective of the Working Group is to organize and facilitate release by Syrian government and the armed opposition groups that signed ceasefire agreement of detainees/abductees and handover the bodies as well as identification of missing persons.

The Working Group consists of the following representatives:

1.  Guarantor-States (the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey) – 3-4 persons each;

2.  The United Nations – 3 persons.

The representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, third countries and other relevant organizations which may contribute to the effective functioning of the group, may be invited on an ad hoc basis to the meeting, if necessary, based on coordination and agreement by the members of the Working Group.

The three Guarantors will act in close consultation and coordination with the conflicting parties.

During its regular meetings in Astana or other places as agreed by its members, the Working Group will:

–  Prepare, agree and exchange lists of detainees/abductees, bodies and missing persons regardless of their origin, or alternatively submit lists to a neutral intermediary which shall be identified by the Working Group;

–  define preliminary conditions and procedure of release of detainees/abductees, by prioritizing the most vulnerable persons as a first step, and handover the bodies as well as identification of missing persons;

–  appoint a neutral intermediary that will facilitate release of detainees/abductees and handover of the bodies as well as identification of missing persons of the parties based on the lists provided by the Working Group and maintain dialogue between authorized representatives of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and armed opposition.

The three Guarantors commit to use their influence on the parties so that parties ensure that detainees are treated humanely at all times and that issues of concern are brought to the attention of the Working Group, and that this agreement is implemented by the parties in good faith. All parties commit not to undertake any reprisal measures against released persons.

The Working Group will hold its first meeting on the margins of the next high-level International Meeting on Syria to be held in Astana. It will start its work by preparing its terms of reference which may include measures to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Regulation.

The Working Group will prepare progress reports on the implementation of the present Regulation and submit to the guarantors. The UN Special Envoy will be briefed accordingly.

Joint Statement on humanitarian mine action in Syria including the UNESCO list of cultural heritage sites

The Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation, and the Republic of Turkey (hereinafter – the Guarantors) state that there exists a large-scale threat of deliberate destruction and mining of world historical monuments and UNESCO cultural heritage sites in Syria by terrorist organizations.

The contamination from explosive hazards* in populated areas as well as in historical and cultural heritage sites in Syria constitutes a great threat in light of their global significance for the world civilization.

The Guarantors call upon the UN Member-States to take urgent and necessary actions to preserve historical heritage for future generations, to demine and dispose of the explosive hazards regardless of the political context.

The Guarantors call upon the UN Member-States to provide technical support for the effective and rapid execution of mine action operations, to share relevant information and data as well as to provide for financial resources for humanitarian mine action.

The Guarantors emphasize the central coordination role of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in solving this problem.

The Guarantors call upon the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the UNMAS to work closely together to establish Mine Action Group. The Guarantors will facilitate efforts of the international community on mine action and disposal of explosive hazards in Syria.

The Mine Action Group will develop a roadmap for launching the humanitarian mine action operation and ensuring safe access of the specialists to the de-mining sites.