ISTANBUL, October 27. /TASS/. Leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Turkey have begun four-party talks on Syria in Istanbul’s Vahdettin Pavilion, an official residence of Turkey’s president and a state guest house.
Prior to the talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan posed for a joint photo on Vahdettin Pavilion’s terrace and then proceeded to the meeting hall.
Earlier on Saturday, the leaders had held some bilateral talks. Putin held his first meeting with Erdogan and then another with Merkel.
The Kremlin had reported earlier that the four-party talks in Istanbul were expected to focus on the political solution to the Syria crisis, on further steps strengthening security and stability, on conditions for the return of refugees and on restoration of the country’s social and economic infrastructure.
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, who will step down in late November, is scheduled to brief the summit’s participants. De Mistura said earlier that he wants to remind the four leaders that after localizing the problem in Idlib, an international consensus is necessary to support UN actions on establishing a constitutional committee.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov acknowledged that the countries have different approaches, but noted that "overall everybody wants to see a political solution in Syria."
"That is a common goal, while certain disagreements may exist regarding the instruments and tactics," he explained. "Now we are speaking about a combination of various formats in order to compare notes, to hold discussions and try to find the common ground," Peskov said.
In the summer, the Turkish president put forward an idea of holding a four-party summit. The proposal was backed by Russia. In mid-September, aides to the Russian, German, French and Turkish leaders met in Istanbul to agree on the summit’s contents.
After the talks, the leaders are expected to make statements for the media.