Erdoğan meets Guterres for talks on Ukrainian war
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 25 in the capital Ankara before his talks in Moscow and Kiev as a meditator for seeking an end to Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Turkey has long been making efforts to mediate between Ukraine and Russia, even before the war started on Feb. 24. Erdoğan invited the leaders of Russia and Ukraine to Istanbul for face-to-face talks in a bid to finalize a peace deal, while the negotiation teams of the warring sides could not reach a consensus on critical topics such as the status of Donbas and Crimean peninsula.
Erdoğan has had several phone talks with the leaders of Ukraine and Russia in a bid to facilitate their negotiations, while the Turkish foreign and defense ministers have been engaging with their counterparts on the issue of humanitarian corridors and efforts to achieve a ceasefire.
Turkey hosted meetings between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators in Istanbul, as well as a summit between the two countries’ foreign ministers in Antalya. The talks provided a ray of hope for an end to the war in Ukraine but did hot yield a result.
After his talks in Ankara, Guterres will head to Moscow on April 26 to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whch will be followed by a trip on April 28 to Kiev in an effort to mediate an end to Russia’s invasion.
A spokesperson for Guterres said last week that the secretary-general will have a working meeting and lunch on April 26 with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and will be received by Putin in Moscow. “He hopes to talk about what can be done to bring peace to Ukraine urgently,” U.N. associate spokesperson Eri Kaneko said.
He will have a working meeting with Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, and will meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky on April 28.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy criticized Guterres for visiting Russia before Ukraine. “Why to hand over signals from Russia? What should we look for?’’ Zelenskyy said on April 23. “There are no corpses scattered on the Kutuzovsky Prospect,’’ he said, referring to one of Moscow’s main avenues.
Following his talks in Kiev with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had spoken with Guterres on April 22 ahead of the trip.
“Our expectation is that he’s going to carry a very strong and clear message to Vladimir Putin, which is the need to end this war now,’’ he told reporters in Poland the day after his meeting with Zelensky.