Türkiye-Syria top diplomats meet in Moscow

Türkiye-Syria top diplomats meet in Moscow

Türkiye-Syria top diplomats meet in Moscow

The foreign ministers of Türkiye and Syria met under the mediation of Russia and with the participation of Iran in a four-way encounter in Moscow and discuss normalization of bilateral ties, fight against terrorism.

Çavuşoğlu and Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad came together in Moscow accompanied with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. The normalization process between the two neighbors started in the last days of 2022 by the efforts of Russia.

The two countries’ defense ministers and intelligence chiefs discussed security matters and the return of the Syrian refugees to Syria in the meetings. It will be the first time that the parties’ foreign ministers will attend the normalization talks.

“At the meeting, it is planned to exchange views on normalization of the relations between Türkiye and Syria and to discuss counter terrorism, political process and humanitarian matters including the voluntary, safe and dignified return of Syrians,” said the ministry.

Çavuşoğlu, in an interview with the CNN Türk on May 9, said one of the top issues he will discuss will be the return of the Syrian refugees. “For the return of the refugees, necessary conditions should be provided. Stability in Syria must be strengthened, and the political process [between the regime and the opposition] should be revived,” he stated.

Cooperation with Damascus as well as with the U.N. and relevant humanitarian agencies is needed for making a safe and voluntary return of the refugees possible, Çavuşoğlu said, adding the European Union should also be on board.

In a separate statement, Çavuşoğlu said a meeting between the leaders of Türkiye and Syria can take place in 2023.

Grain deal will be discussed in Istanbul

In the meantime, the Defense Ministry on May 9 announced that talks for extending the grain deal will be held between Türkiye, Russia, Ukraine and the U.N. on May 10 and 11 in Istanbul.

Russia has warned that the grain initiative that allows both warring sides to export their food products to the world markets will end in May if it is not allowed to start exporting its own grain and other products.

Russia says its ships cannot use the ports in the Mediterranean, its banks cannot receive payments due to the existing sanctions.

Türkiye and the U.N. have been exerting efforts to overcome the problem so that grain deal can be extended.

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkey,