Convergence observed in positions of Ukraine, Russia: FM
Convergence in the views of Ukraine and Russia on critical issues has been observed, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said, underlining that a breakthrough in talks for a ceasefire requires the consent of the two countries’ leaders, especially on the status of Crimea and Donbass.
“There is convergence on the two countries’ positions on the critical issues. We observe that they almost agreed on the first four articles, but decisions on some issues need to be given at the leaders level,” Çavuşoğlu said in an interview over the weekend.
According to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief foreign policy adviser, İbrahim Kalın, there are six articles Ukraine and Russia are negotiating on for a ceasefire and a diplomatic solution to the ongoing war. In a separate interview on March 19, Kalın outlined them and described the first four of them as relatively easy.
These first four articles are “Ukraine’s announced neutrality and statement that it won’t join NATO, disarmament of the country and mutual security assurances, de-Nazification of Ukraine and lifting restrictions on the use of Russian language.”
The status of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia, and the future status of the Donbass region are making the fifth and sixth articles and are seen as the most difficult, according to Kalın.
Çavuşoğlu, on a question, expressed hope for a ceasefire given the ongoing talks between the two sides, also stressing that there is an open line between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“They must come together if there will be an agreement for peace. They don’t rule it out. They don’t have a negative attitude about getting together,” he said.
Turkey seeks three-way summit
Turkey has been calling for a meeting between Zelensky and Putin even before the war started, Çavuşoğlu recalled, stressing the most important thing now is to broker a truce between the two warring sides and not where they cut the peace deal.
“We have a desire to hold a trilateral meeting. But this can happen only with the consent of the two leaders [Putin and Zelensky]. The three-way meeting in Antalya [between the two sides’ foreign ministers with the participation of Çavuşoğlu] could take place upon the demand of the two sides,” he recalled.
On March 10, Çavuşoğlu facilitated the first ministerial meeting between Ukraine and Russia after the Russian invasion of Ukraine started on Feb. 24. He also visited Moscow and Lviv last week to hold talks with his counterparts, Sergey Lavrov and Dmytro Kuleba, respectively.
“I was welcomed warmly by both ministers. They are both satisfied by Turkey’s honest and principled policy. Both have confidence in us,” he added.
FM meets Japanese colleague in Antalya
In the meantime, Çavuşoğlu met Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi at a working visit in his hometown, Antalya, on March 19.
The two ministers discussed bilateral relations and ways to deepen economic, social and trade ties in the context of Turkey’s continued Asia Anew initiative. Both ministers also touched on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and voiced the need for reforming the United Nations, which has failed in responding to growing conflicts around the world.
“Both Russia-Ukraine war and latest developments in the region once again show that the international system, especially the U.N. Security Council, needs to be subjected to serious reform. We agreed to act together with Japan on these issues,” Çavuşoğlu said at a press conference.