Turkey’s President Seeks To Host Talks Between Russia And Ukraine

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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to talk to the presidents of Ukraine and Russia with the aim of arranging direct peace negotiations between them, reports WSJ.

Bringing the countries together 

In these meetings, we will express my thanks to both of them on behalf of myself and my nation and say, ‘Our goal is to bring you together as soon as possible,’” Mr. Erdogan said, speaking during a visit to Uzbekistan, according to Turkey’s state-run news agency.

Mr. Erdogan reiterated that Turkey is willing to host a meeting between the two leaders. The country has hosted two rounds of Russian-Ukrainian peace talks, including a meeting in Istanbul on Tuesday between officials from both countries, in which Ukraine’s delegation outlined a proposal for Kyiv to accept neutrality in exchange for security guarantees from Western powers.

A constructive week! 

Ukrainian and Russian officials described the talks this week as constructive, but Western officials have been hesitant to endorse Ukraine’s proposal to have its security guaranteed by outside powers including the U.S., U.K., France, Turkey, Germany, Canada, Poland and Israel.

The negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are set to continue over videoconference Friday, Ukrainian officials say.

Ukraine has asked countries to act as security guarantors for any peace deal. Several countries have been skeptical about providing broad security promises to Kyiv. Mr. Erdogan said Turkey would agree to serve as a security guarantor for Ukraine in the event of a peace deal, though details still need to be worked out.

Shift from previous meetings

The summit in Istanbul earlier this week was a shift from a previous series of meetings that took place in Belarus. Ukrainian officials said Turkey represented a more neutral location for the negotiations than Belarus, Moscow’s close ally.

Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and has sold weapons to Ukraine while maintaining its relationship with Russia and choosing not to impose sanctions on Moscow.

Moscow has played down the possibility of a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that any meeting between the two leaders should take place after the finalization of an agreement between Russia and Ukraine.

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Source: WSJ

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