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Turkey and Russia put off talks to tackle Libya and Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov makes a speech during the 2nd International Forum “Development of Parliamentarism” in Moscow, Russia on 1 July 2019. [Sefa Karacan - Anadolu Agency]
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov makes a speech during the 2nd International Forum “Development of Parliamentarism” in Moscow, Russia on 1 July 2019 [Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency]

Russia and Turkey have postponed ministerial-level talks which were expected to focus on Libya and Syria, where the two countries support opposing sides in long-standing conflicts, reported Reuters.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov decided to put off the talks during a phone call on Sunday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

“The two countries deputy ministers will continue contacts and talks in the period ahead. Minister-level talks will be held at a later date,” the ministry said in a statement.

Lavrov and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had been set to visit Istanbul for the discussions. The Russian foreign ministry said discussion will be held on the date of the ministers’ meeting.

The United Nations said this week that warring sides had begun new ceasefire talks in Libya, where Ankara supports an internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), whose forces have in recent weeks repelled an assault on Tripoli by the Libyan National Army (LNA).

Turkey supports Fayez al Serraj’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), whose forces have in recent weeks repelled a 14-month assault on Tripoli by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

Russia, along with the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, backs the LNA. The United Nations said on Wednesday that Libya’s warring sides had begun to engage in a new round of ceasefire talks.

In Syria, Russia supports Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s forces, while Turkey backs opposition fighters. Although a Turkish-Russian brokered deal three months ago produced a ceasefire that halted fighting in northwest Syria’s Idlib, air strikes have once again hit the region in the last week.

Note: This article was updated in whole on 14:16pm on 14 June 2020 to state that the meeting has been postponed.

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