20-01-2022 16:49:43

"Russia's talks with US, NATO to be 'decisive' in easing Ukraine tensions"

Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke to reporters on Wednesday after a cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.

In easing tensions on Ukraine, Russia's talks with the US and NATO will be "decisive," Turkiye's foreign minister has said.

"The dialogue between NATO and Russia, and the US and Russia, will be decisive in this matter," Cavusoglu told.

Noting plans for US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday in Geneva, Cavusoglu said: "Tensions are ongoing and serious. We'll continue our contacts. The goal is to reduce tension."

On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden said that he believes Russia will move to invade Ukraine while continuing to warn his counterpart Vladimir Putin of devastating repercussions should he do so.

Russia has recently amassed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine's eastern border, prompting fears that it is planning another military offensive against its former Soviet neighbor. Moscow has dismissed the concerns.

Russian forces entered the Crimean Peninsula in February 2014, with Putin formally dividing the region into two separate federal subjects of the Russian Federation the following month.

Turkiye and the US, as well as the UN General Assembly view the annexation as illegal.

According to the UN, fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region has seen more than 13,000 people killed since 2014.

Turkiye-Armenia relations

When asked about recent rapprochement talks between Armenia and Turkiye, Cavusoglu said the special representatives of the two countries discussed the aims and expectations of the normalization process in their first meeting on Friday.

"The goal with Armenia is full normalization. We explained this. Armenia is also very happy with this," Cavusoglu said.

He added that the sides would work on additional steps they could take besides the appointment of their respective special representatives and the recently announced resumption of commercial flights between Istanbul and the Armenian capital Yerevan.

"The special representatives will work on this. Confidence-building steps will be discussed," he added.

Last week, the special representatives of Turkiye and Armenia held their first meeting in the Russian capital Moscow.

According to a statement by Turkiye's Foreign Ministry, the parties exchanged preliminary views on the process "in a positive and constructive atmosphere" and "agreed to continue negotiations without preconditions, aiming at full normalization."

Turkiye and Armenia have long been divided by a number of issues, from Armenia's refusal to recognize their shared border to historical incidents with the Ottoman Empire's Armenian population in 1915, during World War I.