Diplomatic efforts over MidEast ramp up

Diplomatic efforts over MidEast ramp up

Diplomatic efforts over MidEast ramp up

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) shakes hands with US Secretary of State John Kerry alongside NATO ministerial meetings at NATO Headquarters in Brussels December 1, 2015. / AFP / POOL

Regional officials including the foreign ministers of Ankara, Washington and Doha have held talks amid continuing regional tension over attempts to end Syria’s civil war and the deployment of Turkish troops to Iraq.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu conducted phone conversations with U.S. Secretary State John Kerry and Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Attiyah late Dec. 8 to discuss regional developments, particularly Iraq, according to official sources.

The phone conversations of Çavuşoğlu with Turkey’s two best allies in the region occurred amid reports of preparations for a massive military operation to liberate the strategic Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

Diplomatic sources said Çavuşoğlu was in Pakistan to attend a regional conference when he spoke with his counterparts over the phone.

Meanwhile, Kerry said Dec. 9 that he would travel to Moscow next week for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a political settlement in Syria and Ukraine, according to Reuters. 

Speaking during an event on the sidelines of the Paris climate talks, Kerry said Russia “has been constructive” in trying to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict. 

“I will be traveling to Moscow in a week and will be meeting with him [Putin] and [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei] Lavrov on Syria and on Ukraine,” Kerry said. 

“If we can join interests sufficiently to understand there is a positive outcome for all of us in saving Syria and getting a political settlement ... it’ll be absolutely enormous. And that is why I’m going,” Kerry said.