Turkey says meeting between Russia and Syrian opposition is normal
Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu speaks during a press statement with hşs Kazakh counterpart in Ankara, Dec. 29. AA PHotoTurkey has welcomed Russia’s initiative to resume peace talks aiming to end the Syrian crisis, but underlined that a political transition is a must because the regime of President Bashar al-Assad “has lost its legitimacy.”
All parties to the Syrian cause should be part of efforts to find a solution to the crisis, which must include a “political transition” in Syria, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said yesterday during a joint press conference with Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov.
No country, including Russia and Iran, “should be isolated” from peace efforts, the minister said. “Everybody, including Russia and Iran, should have influence on the political transition,” meaning meetings between Russia and the Syrian opposition were “normal,” he added.
Turkey is closely following developments regarding consultations between Russians and the Syrian opposition, the minister added.
His remarks came following a question regarding Russian efforts to mediate between Syrian opposition groups and the al-Assad regime, which are expected to gather in Moscow.
Russia plans to host delegations from the Syrian opposition in late January, possibly followed by a visit by government representatives that could bring the two sides together for talks.
The Syrian National Coalition (SNC) is the legitimate representative of the Syrian opposition according to Turkey, Çavuşoğlu said, adding that the SNC was in contact with other opposition groups as well.
Russia plans to host delegations from the Syrian opposition in late January, possibly followed by a visit by regime representatives that could bring the two sides together for talks, the Foreign Ministry said Dec. 25.
Members of the Syrian opposition are expected in Moscow “after Jan. 20,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters on Dec. 25.
“We expect this group to include representatives of both the ‘internal’ and ‘external’ opposition,” said Lukashevich, meaning delegates based inside and outside the country. “It will be a compact group” that will meet to work out a position, he said.
“After that we plan to invite representatives of the government, and the sides will try to express, in an informal atmosphere, their vision and ways of regulating [the conflict],” he added.