The next meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People core group, which brings together Western and Arab nations that support the Syrian opposition, has been scheduled to be held in İstanbul on April 20, after several exchanges Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made with his foreign counterparts.
During his visit to Bishkek on Wednesday accompanying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Davutoglu spoke with his foreign counterparts in order to confirm the location and date for the upcoming group meeting, diplomatic sources say. The holding of the meeting came to the agenda during US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Turkey on Sunday.
On Wednesday, Davutoglu first spoke with his Egyptian and Qatari interlocutors for the confirmation of the meeting. Returning to Ankara in the evening, Davutoglu held another talk with Kerry on the subject. After the conversation, diplomatic sources noted that the Turkish minister and Kerry came to an agreement to hold the meeting in İstanbul on April 20.
During the phone meeting, Kerry also said he would attend to the core group meeting, which he stated would constitute an important milestone to determining the required steps to be taken for Syria crisis, sources also noted.
With his planned visit to Turkey for the meeting, Kerry will have visited the country three times in two months. The secretary’s most recent visit to Turkey was last Sunday, during which met for talks with top Turkish officials to discuss regional and international issues involving countries such as Israel, Syria, Iraq and Cyprus. Kerry also made another visit to Turkey in early March.
The Friends of the Syrian People group, which was formed outside the framework of the UN Security Council, which has been deadlocked on the Syrian question due to a failure to devise a resolution condemning the Syrian regime, has held a number of summits hosted by various member countries starting from last year.
Russia and China has vetoed several UN Security Council resolutions that threaten Syrian authorities with sanctions if they did not stop using heavy weapons against the uprising I the country and withdraw troops from towns and cities across the country.
FM talks with Iranian counterpart
Davutoglu was also engaged in intense telephone diplomacy on Wednesday.
The minister spoke with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, later on Wednesday, sending condolences to Iranians killed in Tuesday’s earthquake. Davutoglu stated Turkey’s readiness to provide any kind of aid required for the recovery.
A magnitude-6.3 quake struck southern Iran on Tuesday, killing at least 37 people and injuring around 850 more, Iranian media outlets reported.
Salehi, thanking to Davutoglu in turn, shared information on the results of the last week’s nuclear talks between Iran and P5+1, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — plus Germany, in Almaty province.
The P5+1 group and Iran met recently in Almaty last weekend to discuss Tehran’s controversial nuclear program, but failed to arrive at an agreement that would end the decade-old dispute.
Iran’s critics accuse it of covertly seeking the means to produce nuclear bombs, while the Tehran maintains that it is only refining uranium to power a planned network of nuclear energy plants and for medical purposes.