Russia and Turkey pledge to cooperate, agree on Syria ceasefire

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Russian FM Sergei Lavrov (L) and Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu meeting in Turkey's southern resort district of Alanya, Dec. 1, 2016. Photo: AA

ARA News

Damascus – Russia and Turkey announced on Thursday that they would cooperate to resolve the humanitarian crisis in the war-torn city of Aleppo. Representatives from both countries also agreed in principle to a ceasefire in Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in the Mediterranean resort city of Alanya. After the meeting, Cavusoglu told a packed press room that Ankara and Moscow had pledged to work together in Aleppo.

“We are in agreement that a ceasefire is needed so that the tragedy can come to an end,” Cavusoglu said on Thursday. “The recent situation in Syria is clear. Unfortunately, civilians are dying. But there should be a ceasefire in Syria. Humanitarian aid should be provided.”

Lavrov echoed Cavusoglu’s remarks, saying that both Russia and Turkey “should make sure [the flow of] humanitarian aid keeps on going. We remain in cooperation on this issue.”

Cavusoglu further emphasized Turkey’s support for Syrian territorial integrity in any post-conflict agreement. “With regard to Syrian territorial integrity and unity, we are in agreement with Russia,” he said.

“Unless a political solution is found and the national unity and territorial integrity of Syria are secured, you can clear out Daesh but another terror group [will just] emerge after that,” the Turkish FM said, employing an Arabic acronym for ISIS.

Relations between Ankara and Moscow collapsed in November 2015 when Turkish jets shot down a Russian bomber flying over Syria. Moscow retaliated with tough economic and trade sanctions. The relationship recently recovered as the result of an initiative by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Our objective is to continue Turkey-Russia cooperation by gaining strength and to make sure this is not just in favor of both countries but the wider region as well,” Cavusoglu declared. “We intend to take our relations further than before and to strengthen our bilateral relations in all areas.”

Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi | Source: ARA News & Agencies

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