Closer ties with Turkey will help in Syria crisis: Lavrov
BAKU – Anadolu Agency
AA photoThe normalization of relations between Turkey and Russia will help both countries find effective new ways to solve the Syrian crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on July 12.
Lavrov made the remarks at a joint press conference with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku.
“The [normalization] process will enable us to find more effective paths for solutions to the crises in Syria,” said Lavrov.
“Turkey and Russia have different approaches on the Syria issue. However, after I met with [Turkish Foreign Minister] Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Sochi, I can say we will have fewer conflicts with our Turkish counterparts,” he added.
Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Russia soured after the downing of a Russian warplane that violated Turkish airspace last November.
On June 30, Russia lifted a ban on tourist flights to Turkey following a telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, after the latter expressed to the former his “deep sorrow” for the downing of the Russian jet.
Turkish and Russian foreign ministers then met in the Russian city of Sochi on July 1 in an effort to boost the process of normalization of bilateral ties.
The two countries support different parties in the Syria conflict. While Moscow supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and forces loyal to him, Ankara supports rebels fighting against al-Assad.
The Azerbaijani foreign minister, for his part, said Azerbaijan was “pleased” to see rapprochement between Turkey and Russia.
“The fewer conflicts between Russia and Turkey, the better it is for Azerbaijan,” Mammadyarov said.
Mammadyarov added that the Nagorno-Karabakh solution process was also discussed in the meeting with Lavrov on July 12, stressing that an “incremental solution” was required and the Armenian army in the occupied territories “poses a threat to the region.”
Lavrov also said progress had been made regarding the resolution process over the Karabakh conflict, adding that “we are even closer to a solution this time.”
Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a war over the mountainous territory with a population of mostly ethnic Armenians in the early 1990s, during which thousands were killed on both sides, and hundreds of thousands were displaced.
The fighting ended in 1994 with a cease-fire. The territory is now ruled by Armenia-backed separatist authorities who claim independence and are backed by Yerevan but are not recognized by any state.