Türkiye Welcomes Iran’s Engagement in Normalization Path with Syria

 A demonstration in Idlib against the Turkish-Syrian rapprochement on December 30, 2022 (AFP)
A demonstration in Idlib against the Turkish-Syrian rapprochement on December 30, 2022 (AFP)
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Türkiye Welcomes Iran’s Engagement in Normalization Path with Syria

 A demonstration in Idlib against the Turkish-Syrian rapprochement on December 30, 2022 (AFP)
A demonstration in Idlib against the Turkish-Syrian rapprochement on December 30, 2022 (AFP)

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that his country welcomed Iran’s participation in the ongoing talks with Syria under Russian mediation.

He added that Tehran’s presence in the talks would facilitate the elimination of terrorist threats from Syrian territory, secure his country’s borders, and guarantee the safe and voluntary return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.

Kalin’s remarks, which he made in Ankara on Wednesday, came hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed that Moscow supported Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s interest in settling and normalizing the situation between the two neighbors, Türkiye and Syria.

During a press conference with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, in Moscow on Tuesday, Lavrov announced that an agreement was reached over Iran’s participation in the normalization process.

“It is logical that the upcoming contacts be dedicated to the normalization of Turkish-Syrian relations, with the mediation of Russia and Iran (the two guarantors with Türkiye of the Astana process),” he said.

Lavrov and Shoukry stressed the need to preserve the unity, integrity and sovereignty of Syria, resolve its political crisis, and respect the rights of its citizens to determine their own destiny and the fate of their state.

Earlier this week, Erdogan emphasized the necessity to maintain meetings between his country, Russia and Syria, with the possibility of Iran joining, in order to achieve stability in northern Syria.

He added that his country’s relations with Russia were “based on mutual respect.”

“Although we have not been able to obtain at the present time the result we desire, with regard to developments in northern Syria, we call for holding tripartite meetings between Türkiye, Russia and Syria,” the Turkish president said during a meeting with a group of youth on Sunday, as part of his campaign for the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for May 14.



Drive to End Global Hunger Has Stalled, United Nations Warns

A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)
A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)
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Drive to End Global Hunger Has Stalled, United Nations Warns

A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)
A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)

A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve, with the number of people suffering chronic hunger barely changed over the past year, a UN report said on Wednesday.

The annual State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report said around 733 million people faced hunger in 2023 -- one in 11 people globally and one in five in Africa -- as conflict, climate change and economic crises take their toll.

David Laborde, director of the division within the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which helps prepare the survey, said that although progress had been made in some regions, the situation had deteriorated at a global level.

"We are in a worse situation today than nine years ago when we launched this goal to eradicate hunger by 2030," he told Reuters, saying challenges such as climate change and regional wars had grown more severe than envisaged even a decade ago.

If current trends continue, about 582 million people will be chronically undernourished at the end of the decade, half of them in Africa, the report warned.

A broader objective to ensure regular access to adequate food has also stalled over the past three years, with 29% of the global population, or 2.33 billion people, experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity in 2023.

Underscoring stark inequalities, some 71.5% of people in low-income countries could not afford a healthy diet last year, against 6.3% in high-income countries.

While famines are easy to spot, poor nutrition is more insidious but can nonetheless scar people for life, stunting both the physical and mental development of babies and children, and leaving adults more vulnerable to infections and illnesses.

Laborde said international aid linked to food security and nutrition amounted to $76 billion a year, or 0.07% of the world's total annual economic output.

"I think we can do better to deliver this promise about living on a planet where no one is hungry," he said.

Regional trends varied significantly, with hunger continuing to rise in Africa, where growing populations, myriad wars and climate upheaval weighed heavily. By contrast, Asia has seen little change and Latin America has improved.

"South America has very developed social protection programs that allows them to target interventions so they can effectively move out of hunger in a very fast way," said FAO's chief economist Maximo Torero.

"In the case of Africa, we have not observed that."

The United Nations said the way the anti-hunger drive was financed had to change, with greater flexibility needed to ensure the countries most in need got help.

"We need to change how we do things to be better coordinated, to accept that not everyone should try to do everything but really be much more focused on what we are doing and where," said Laborde.

The report is compiled by the Rome-based FAO, the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development, its Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization and World Food Program.