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INTERNATIONAL > Turkey and Russia reject Syria’s division

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Syrians flash victory signs during a celebration after hearing about the suicide attack hit the National Security building. AP photo

Syrians flash victory signs during a celebration after hearing about the suicide attack hit the National Security building. AP photo

Both Turkey and Russia will refuse to accept any division of Syria, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday at a joint press conference after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

“We do not have any disagreement over the stability of Syria and the region. We think the same thing on that. We certainly reject the division of Syria,” Erdoğan said.

The prime minister also noted, however, the continuing violence in the country. “There is a regime which is killing its own people. We are making assessments [taking into consideration] such developments,” Erdoğan said. “We say that whatever the Syrian people want should happen for Syria. Foreign countries should not make a decision about a Syria after [President Bashar] al-Assad; the Syrian people should [make this decision].

Erdoğan also said the recent international talks in Geneva provided a “road map” but that delaying an international solution to the conflict “leads to loss of lives.”

“We want the Syrian people to decide. In that situation, the U.N. Security Council and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council face important decisions,” Erdoğan said.

The Geneva talks in late June produced an agreement praised by Russia which called for a transitional government in Syria without setting any conditions for the current government in Damascus.

Putin barely spoke on the Syria crisis during the brief news conference, saying only that he “welcomed Turkey’s support” of the decisions reached in the Geneva talks.

Phone call on jet
The sides also exchanged information about a Turkish jet that was downed recently over the Mediterranean on June 22, an incident that a Russian military official said was caused by Turkey’s breach of Syrian airspace.

Replying to a question about whether Russia had shared any documents on the downed Turkish jet, Erdoğan said no information has been shared, stating that the exchange of information between the two countries was limited to a phone call he and Putin had soon after the incident.

Compiled from AA and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.

July/19/2012

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