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Russia says roadmap in the works to mend Syria-Turkey ties

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Russia said on Wednesday that a roadmap to normalize ties between Syria and Turkey will be drafted following a meeting of their foreign ministers in Moscow, Agence France-Presse reported.

Earlier Wednesday the foreign ministers of Turkey and Syria held their first official meeting since the start of the Syrian civil war more than a decade ago.

The talks in the Russian capital also involved the top diplomats of Russia and Iran.

The ministers had agreed to task their deputies with putting together a “‘roadmap’ to advance ties between Turkey and Syria” in coordination with the defense ministers and security services of the four countries, Moscow said in a statement.

“The ministers noted the positive and constructive atmosphere of the exchange of views and agreed to continue high-level contacts,” the Russian foreign ministry added.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the proposals could then be put to the leaders of Iran, Russia, Syria and Turkey.

“Our task is to determine the general guidelines for further progress,” Lavrov said at the meeting.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran welcomed the start of the talks between Syria and Turkey.

“We deeply believe that these two countries can put the past behind them and, by looking to the future, resolve their bilateral issues through dialogue and deepening cooperation based on good neighborliness,” he said.

He pointed to “the transition process in the world order” and “the decline of American power.”

In April Moscow hosted four-way talks involving the countries’ defense ministers.

Turkey supported early rebel efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, keeping a military presence in northern stretches of the war-torn country that angers Damascus.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has made up with former rivals across the region and is now courting a presidential summit with Assad.

Kremlin mediation would give President Vladimir Putin diplomatic clout, with Russia isolated internationally over its offensive in Ukraine.

Damascus is a staunch ally of Moscow, which intervened in the civil war in 2015, launching airstrikes to support the government’s struggling forces.

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