Following a summit meeting between Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Turkey's President Erdogan reached an agreement over Syria that was described as historic by the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


The following is the outline of the agreement

"President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin agreed on the following points:


1. The two sides reiterate their commitment to the preservation of the political unity and territorial integrity of Syria and the protection of national security of Turkey.


2. They emphasise their determination to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations and to disrupt separatist agendas in the Syrian territory.


3. In this framework, the established status quo in the current Operation Peace Spring area covering Tel Abyad and Ras Al Ayn with a depth of 32km (20 miles) will be preserved.


4. Both sides reaffirm the importance of the Adana Agreement. The Russian Federation will facilitate the implementation of the Adana Agreement in the current circumstances.


5. Starting 12.00 noon of October 23, 2019, Russian military police and Syrian border guards will enter the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border, outside the area of Operation Peace Spring, to facilitate the removal of YPG elements and their weapons to the depth of 30km (19 miles) from the Turkish-Syrian border, which should be finalized in 150 hours. At that moment, joint Russian-Turkish patrols will start in the west and the east of the area of Operation Peace Spring with a depth of 10km (six miles), except Qamishli city.


6. All YPG elements and their weapons will be removed from Manbij and Tal Rifat.


7. Both sides will take necessary measures to prevent infiltrations of terrorist elements.


8. Joint efforts will be launched to facilitate the return of refugees in a safe and voluntary manner.


9. A joint monitoring and verification mechanism will be established to oversee and coordinate the implementation of this memorandum.


10. The two sides will continue to work to find a lasting political solution to the Syrian conflict within Astana Mechanism and will support the activity of the Constitutional Committee."




The Council, which meets throughout the year at the UN Office in Geneva, is an international body, within the UN system, made up of 47 States, and is responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world. It has the power to launch fact-finding missions and establish commissions of inquiry into specific situations.

Three times a year, it reviews the human rights records of UN Member States, in a special process designed to give countries the chance to present the actions they have taken, and what they’ve done, to advance human rights. This is known as the Universal Periodic Review.


Costa Rica, Iraq and Moldova lose out

Elections to some seats – those reserved for countries from the Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, and Latin America and Caribbean regions – were competitive, with more candidates than available places.


Costa Rica’s late decision, on 3 October, to throw its hat in the ring, meant that three countries contested the two available Latin America and Caribbean places. However, their bid failed, and Venezuela and Brazil took the seats.

Five nations – Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Marshall Islands and Republic of Korea – put themselves up as candidates for the Asia-Pacific region, for which four seats were reserved: following the vote, Iraq failed to get the support it needed.

As for Eastern Europe, three nations vied for two places. Armenia and Poland won the requisite votes, whilst Moldova did not make the cut.

Africa had four seats up for grabs, and four candidates, who were duly elected: Libya, Mauritania, Namibia and Sudan. Western Europe was also a non-competitive election, with Germany and Netherlands taking the two seats reserved for their region.

Time to make way

The newly elected countries will serve for three years and take up their seats after 31 December. As only 47 of the UN’s 193 Member States can sit on the Council at any one time, an equal number will be giving up their places.

The African States stepping down will be Egypt, Rwanda, South Africa and Tunisia; the Asia-Pacific States bowing out are China, Iraq, Japan and Saudi Arabia; for Eastern Europe the retirees are Croatia and Hungary; and the States leaving from the Western European and other States region, are Iceland and the United Kingdom.

As for the Latin American and Caribbean States, Cuba’s time on the Council will come to an end, and it will be replaced by Venezuela. Although Brazil’s current term comes to an end, its successful re-election means that it will serve another three years (according to Council rules, members can serve two consecutive terms).


The new members in full

Here is the how the Human Rights Council will look, as of 1 January 2020:


African States

Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Togo


Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Marshall Islands, Republic of Korea Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar

Eastern Europe

Armenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine

Latin American and Caribbean States

Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela

Western Europe and other States

Australia, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain


The arrival of a new European Commission this autumn coincides with a pressing list of internal and external challenges for the European Union. As EU leaders seek to shore up the “European Project” at home and defend European interests and multilateralism in a more competitive world, they must also grapple with a slowing economy, continued populism and political upheaval, the fallout from an uncertain Brexit, insecurity in its neighborhood and a global geopolitical order in flux. Against this backdrop, what will be the EU’s top priorities for next five years? Are Europeans really ready to step up to the plate? What are the implications of a greater emphasis on “European sovereignty” for the United States and the transatlantic relationship? Join a group of Carnegie experts for a discussion with deep insights from Europe.


This event is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.​


Stavros Lambrinidis is the Ambassador of the European Union to the United States, as of March 1, 2019. From 2012 to February 2019, he served as the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights. In 2011, he was Foreign Affairs Minister of Greece.


Marisa Bellack is the Washington Post’s Europe editor. Based in Washington, she oversees bureaus in London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, and Rome. She joined the Post in 2007, serving five years as digital editor for opinions and five years as deputy editor of the Sunday Outlook section.


Federiga Bindi is a nonresident scholar in the Europe Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace working on European politics, EU foreign policy, and transatlantic relations.


Stefan Lehne is a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels. He is a former senior Austrian and EU official and an expert on EU foreign policy, the Western Balkans and Central Europe.


Pierre Vimont is a senior fellow at Carnegie Europe in Brussels. Prior to joining Carnegie, Vimont was the first executive secretary-general of the European External Action Service and French ambassador to the United States and to the European Union.


David Whineray is a nonresident fellow in the Europe Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is a former senior British diplomat with postings in Washington, New York, London, and Brussels.


Erik Brattberg is director of the Europe Program and a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. He is an expert on European politics and security and transatlantic relations.