On the 7th and 8th of February, EIP convened an interagency meeting on Syria, the eighth of its type in coordination with Search for Common Ground (SfCG). Representatives from Track I, II, and III agencies gathered in Brussels to participate in stimulating discussion around the main challenges facing Syria with a view to increasing inter-track coordination and communication.
The first day started with a briefing by the EEAS and the UN-OSE, after which representatives from Russian, Turkish, and Iranian think tanks delivered brief presentations on the future of the Astana track and prospects for Sochi. With this in mind, participants were invited to engage in an open discussion, to bring in Track II perspectives to those presented in the previous panel.
The second day took the form of a more informal workshop, oriented around augmenting the relationship between Tracks II and III and based upon research carried out by International Alert. After these research findings were presented, participants split into four separate groups to discuss the topics of elections and constitutional reform, Arab/Kurdish relations, decentralization, and Housing, Land, and Property related issues.
The day concluded with each group briefly presenting their perspectives, along with a number of actionable items around their chosen topic. This list of suggestions constitutes the end product of the meeting; a consensual document which puts forward a number of viable solutions to bridge the gaps between tracks working towards peace in Syria.
Once again, the interagency meeting proved to be beneficial to participants in terms of sharing knowledge, experience, and creating new connections. We look forward to building upon the success of what was, according to a number of participants, the best interagency meeting that EIP and SfCG have convened to date.