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Syrian Foreign Minister Denies Any Talks With Turkey

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Syrian Foreign Minister Denies Any Talks With Turkey

Syria flag (flickr).

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad denied the presence of any talks to restore relations with Turkey during an interview with Sputnik on September 23.

“There are no negotiations, and no contacts. There is nothing, at least at the level of the foreign ministers [of the two countries],” the minister told the Russian news agency.

Mekdad noted that Turkey’s lack of commitment to the Astana process is the main obstacle preventing a settlement in Syria. The minister went on stress that the process, which involves Russia, Turkey and Iran, is the only framework that could end the war in the country.

Earlier, Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for the Turkish Presidency, said that there are no diplomatic talks with Syria. However, the spokesman confirmed that the intelligence of the two countries are communicating with each other.

Kalin said that Turkey’s position on the Syrian regime is “clear,” adding that Ankara supports the Astana process and the Syrian constitutional committee.

A recent report by Reuters revealed that Turkey’s intelligence chief held a series of constructive meetings with his Syrian counterpart in Damascus over the last weeks. The two sides reportedly evaluated during the meeting how their foreign ministers could eventually meet.

Ankara broke ties with Damascus in the very first year of the Syrian war. It later become the top political and military backer of Syrian rebels. Today, the Turkish military occupies large parts of the war-torn country northern and northeastern regions.

The recent Syrian and Turkish statements indicate that the two sides are no in a rush to restore relations, despite facing the same economic and security challenges. We may not see a real rapprochement between Ankara and Damascus until next year.

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