Joint Political Declaration on the Establishment of the High Level Cooperation Council among Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon

        We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Republic of Lebanon, 

        Recognizing that the relations among Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon are characterized by increased political dialogue, growing economic interdependence and enhanced cultural interaction, based on the will of their peoples who are bound together with exceptional ties of common history, culture and geography. 

        With a view to strengthening their cooperation further within a multinational and institutionalized framework and to develop a long-term strategic partnership and with a view to enhancing solidarity among us and moving towards economic integration, 

        Have decided to establish a “Quadripartite High Level Cooperation Council” (HLCC) and to create a zone of free movement of goods and persons among our countries. 

        The HLCC will be based on the existing bilateral agreements and practices on free trade and visa exemption, which constitute a solid foundation to move forward for enhanced cooperation on all issues of common interest and concern. In this context, Turkey has already put in force visa exemption agreements with Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. Turkey has also concluded free trade agreements with Syria and Jordan, and currently negotiations are underway to finalize an FTA with Lebanon as well. 

        In this respect, Turkey and Lebanon declare that they have jointly committed themselves to actively pursue their negotiations in order to conclude the FTA between them as soon as possible, which will be essential for full participation of the countries in the process. 

        This quadripartite mechanism will not replace the bilateral commitments between the parties and will be open to the participation of all other brotherly and friendly countries in the region. 

        The Quadripartite Council will be coordinated by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The Council will convene at least once a year for consultations at the level of respective Prime Ministers to be hosted by participating countries on a rotational basis. 

        Ministers responsible for other areas, such as energy, trade, customs, agriculture, health, investments, internal affairs, water, environment, transportation and others depending on the agenda, may also participate in the Council. With the development of cooperation to cover areas of mutual interest, the Council may be modified to include ministers responsible for such areas in their respective countries. 

        Coordination of the work of the Council and finalization of its agenda for each meeting will be undertaken by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the participating countries. 

        The Ministers attending the Council will also meet with their counterparts on a quadrilateral basis at least once a year and will develop action plans in their respective areas of responsibility in order to designate concrete steps and to submit them to the Council. 

        We hereby announce our commitment to follow up the swift implementation of this Declaration.