Turkish FM says Erdogan, Assad to meet soon

A meeting between the Turkish, Syrian and Russian presidents has been scheduled, but not for January, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.

“As for the summit of the leaders of the three countries, again there is no date, but January is too early for that, so we cannot say that the summit will take place in January,” the foreign minister stated on Thursday, as quoted by TRT broadcaster.

Even though Turkey believes that Syria was uncooperative in terms of the fight against terrorism due to political differences, there is room for future joint work, Cavusoglu continued, adding that the present negotiations did not prevent Ankara from continuing operations against terrorists in Syria.

On December 15, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he had offered to Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold a meeting between the three leaders, which will be preceded by a meeting of the heads of the intelligence services, defense, and foreign ministries.

The Russian, Syrian, and Turkish defense ministers held talks on Wednesday in the Russian capital, Moscow, to discuss means of resolving the Syrian crisis. The meeting in Moscow marked the first high-level contact between the two neighbors since 2011 when the Syrian war broke out, as Turkey has backed the rebels fighting the government forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the defense ministers highlighted how the dialogue was constructive, stressing the need for all three parties to hold further talks to bring more stability to Syria and the whole region, the Russian Defense Ministry announced.

Commenting on the meeting, Cavusoglu said that dialogue is important to reach an agreement on a road map for the Syrian settlement, adding that the relevant communication would continue.

“The meeting turned out to be useful. We believe that interaction with the Syrian authorities is important to reach an agreement that will ensure stability and a lasting peace, and these contacts are also important to reach a consensus between the regime and the opposition on the road map [for conflict settlement],” he added.

In the same context, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the head of the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), Hakan Fidan, met Syrian Defense Minister Ali Mahmoud Abbas and Syrian intelligence chief Ali Mamlouk in Moscow along with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry.

Cavusoglu also stated that the next contact with the Syrian government as part of a road map for dialogue between the two countries will be between the foreign ministers.

“A meeting at the level of foreign ministers is now scheduled. But there is no concrete timetable yet,” he added.

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