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Turkish, Russian officials to meet in Ankara for talks on Syria, Libya

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and President of Russia Vladimir Putin (R) in Moscow, Russia on 5 March 2020 [Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency]
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and President of Russia Vladimir Putin (R) in Moscow, Russia on 5 March 2020 [Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency]

Turkish and Russian officials will meet in Ankara this week for a new round of talks on developments in Syria and Libya, where the two countries back opposing sides, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

“Consultations between Turkish and Russian interagency delegations on Libya and Syria will continue at a technical level on 15-16 September 2020 in Ankara,” the ministry said.

Ankara and Moscow are the main power brokers in Libya’s war and have been holding talks on a lasting ceasefire and political settlement. Russia supports the eastern-based forces of Khalifa Haftar, while Turkey has helped the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) repel Haftar’s offensive.

Last month, the GNA declared a ceasefire in Libya and called for a lifting of a blockade on oil facilities. Aguila Saleh, the leader of a rival parliament to the east, also called for a halt to hostilities. But Haftar, who is also supported by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, dismissed the move.

READ: ‘Russia, Turkey advance in liberating Idlib’

Ankara and Moscow also back opposing sides in Syria. Russia, along with Iran, supports President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and Turkey backs rebels looking to oust him.

After an escalation of violence displaced nearly 1 million people and brought the two sides close to confrontation, Turkey and Russia agreed in March to halt hostilities. Both sides have said the ceasefire has held despite minor violations.

The last round of talks was held in Moscow on August 31-September 1.

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