Turkish, Russian, Ukrainian top diplomats to meet in Antalya: Çavuşoğlu
The foreign ministers of warring Russia and Ukraine, Sergey Lavrov and Dmytro Kuleba, respectively, have agreed to meet and discuss the ongoing conflict on March 10 in Turkey’s resort town of Antalya, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said, informing he will also be present at the talks upon the two sides’ demand.
“We want this meeting to be a turning point and a step taken toward peace and stability,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters in Ankara on March 7.
Çavuşoğlu informed that both Lavrov and Kuleba confirmed that they want to hold talks in the trilateral format with his participation. “So we will hold this meeting in a trilateral format on Thursday,” the minister said, reiterating that Turkey will continue its efforts for a permanent ceasefire and an agreement between Ukraine and Russia.
“Our objective is to immediately give an end to the fighting,” the minister said, recalling that Ankara has been actively engaged with both countries even before the war started.
Turkey has long been exerting efforts to mediate between Ukraine and Russia, even before the war started. Erdoğan and Putin spoke over the phone on March 6, in which the Turkish president proposed to his counterpart to open a path of peace together and launch talks for a peaceful resolution of the problems. Çavuşoğlu also had phone conversations with his counterparts, Lavrov and Kuleba, late March 6.
Çavuşoğlu was aiming to bring Kuleba and Lavrov together on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum that will be held between March 11 and 13. It will be the first ministerial and highest-level meeting between Ukraine and Russia since the latter started a comprehensive military operation on Feb. 24.
Earlier in the day, a senior Turkish official vowed that Turkey will continue its efforts for a permanent ceasefire in Ukraine, a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone on the weekend.
“We will continue our initiatives under the leadership of our president so that the ceasefire will become permanent and the peace negotiations will yield results,” Erdoğan’s chief foreign policy adviser, İbrahim Kalın, said on Twitter on March 7.
Evacuation of Turks continues
Çavuşoğlu also informed about Turkey’s ongoing efforts to accomplish the evacuation of Turks from Ukraine, particularly from the eastern and southern parts of the country where the clashes have intensified.
“We are in talks with both Ukraine and Russia for the evacuation of our citizens from the conflict areas,” Çavuşoğlu said. Turkey still has a sizeable community in southern and eastern cities, and the Turkish Embassy in Kiev and General-Consulate in Odessa are working for making their safe evacuation possible, the minister said.
Turkey has evacuated more than 11,000 people from Ukraine, he informed.