(Reuters) – Syrian overseas minister Faisal Mekdad mentioned on Saturday that Turkey must finish its army presence in his nation to realize a full rapprochement.
“We can not speak about resuming regular ties with Turkey with out eradicating the occupation,” he mentioned after assembly his Iranian counterpart in Damascus.
Turkey has been a serious backer of the political and armed opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the course of the 12-year battle in Syria, and has despatched its personal troops into swathes of the nation’s north.
Russia, a key ally of Assad, is supporting a rapprochement between Damascus and Ankara, internet hosting talks between their defence ministers final month and aiming for conferences between the overseas ministers and finally presidents.
Mekdad mentioned on Saturday “a gathering between Assad and the Turkish management will depend on eradicating the explanations for the dispute,” with out offering extra particulars or mentioning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by identify.
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Mekdad was talking after assembly in Damascus with Hossein Amirabdollahian, the overseas minister of Assad’s different principal ally, Iran.
Amirabdollahian, who additionally met Assad on Saturday, mentioned on Friday that Iran was “proud of the dialogue happening between Syria and Turkey”.
Assad mentioned on Friday the outcomes needs to be primarily based on the precept of ending the occupation and help for terrorism, a time period that Syrian authorities use to check with all opposition armed teams.
A supply with shut information of the negotiations mentioned Syria wished Turkey to tug its troops from swathes of the north and to halt help to a few principal opposition factions.
The supply mentioned Syria was eager to see progress on these calls for via follow-up committees earlier than agreeing to a overseas ministers’ assembly.
Turkish International Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu mentioned on Thursday he may meet Mekdad early in February, rejecting stories the 2 may meet subsequent week.
Syria has made no official touch upon the timing of any such assembly, which might mark the highest-level talks between Ankara and Damascus for the reason that Syrian warfare started in 2011.
(Reporting by Kinda Makieh and Firas Makdesi, and Laila Bassam in Beirut; Modifying by Mark Potter)
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