Russian diplomat to join UN summit in Turkey amid tense ties

Russian diplomat to join UN summit in Turkey amid tense ties

Deniz Çiyan - ISTANBUL
Russian diplomat to join UN summit in Turkey amid tense ties

AA photo

The World Humanitarian Summit, which is being organized for the first time in the U.N.’s history in Istanbul next week, will host a Russian deputy minister, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam, and Kuwaiti Emir Al-Jaber al-Sabah.

Herve Verhoosel, the spokesperson for the summit due to take place on May 23-24, did not elaborate on the identity of the Russian diplomat at a press meeting in Istanbul with Turkish Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın on May 20. 

Ties between Ankara and Moscow have been tense since the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey last November over airspace violations on the Turkish border with Syria, where Turkey and Russia back opposing sides.

Kalın said the summit aimed at building “moral responsibility” and forming a functioning mechanism that can be pursued throughout forthcoming years. 

“One of the first elements of this summit is forming a feeling of moral responsibility that will elevate this [humanitarian] problem,” he stated. 

Verhoosel said the U.N.’s main aim in organizing the summit was to establish “more political will to go in a more efficient way forward” in solving the world’s humanitarian crises.

He stressed that it was not only about “how to better spend the money collected,” but also about how money could be more efficiently collected and identified with the aim of helping people and societies in need. 

Verhoosel added that they expected commitments from all actors set to take part in the summit in Istanbul, which is not limited to money. 

Around 175 nations have accepted U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s invitation to attend the summit, Verhoosel said, adding that 60 of these states would be represented by the heads of state or government. 

He added that around 500 NGOs and some 345 companies from the private sector would participate in the summit, along with world-renowned celebrities such as Ashley Judd and Sean Penn, making this summit a unique one. 

Kalın said representatives of societies facing crises and currently in need of humanitarian aid will also attend the meeting, thus allowing different parties to get in direct contact with each other and hear first-hand about the situation in crisis-hit areas.