Joint Press Statement Regarding the Meeting Between Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey and Mr. Masoud Barzani, IKR President , 1 August 2012, Erbil

Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, and Mr. Masoud Barzani, the President of IKR, had extensive, friendly and constructive discussions in Erbil today on bilateral relations and regional issues, particularly on the situation in Syria. They noted their satisfaction with the pace of their relations and agreed to expand them in all fields, particularly in the fields of economic development and energy.

They emphasized that the situation in Syria is grave. Syrian people continue to suffer. Loss of life and destruction is at unprecedented levels. They underlined that the actions of the Syrian regime and its policy to provoke sectarian and ethnic conflict within the country will further deteriorate the situation. The developments in Syria also pose a threat to regional security and stability. This situation is unacceptable by all standards.

They emphasized their commitment to a swift peaceful political transition in Syria. They reiterated that the future of Syria should only be determined by the free will of the Syrian people.

They agreed to cooperate and coordinate their efforts with a view to helping Syrian people to achieve their legitimate aspirations for a democratic, free and pluralistic Syria where all citizens will enjoy equal rights and freedoms. In the new Syria, all ethnic, religious or sectarian identities should be respected and their rights should be guaranteed and protected.

They expressed their deep concern regarding instability and chaos in Syria. They also emphasized that any attempt to exploit the power vacuum by any violent group or organization will be considered as a common threat, which should be jointly addressed. The new Syria should be free of any terrorist and extremist group or organization.

They agreed to continue their consultations and cooperation in the interests of peace and stability in the region.