‘Moscow, Ankara to resume Syria talks’

MOSCOW :Russia will most likely resume dia­logue with Turkey over the crisis in Syria now that the two nations have agreed to restore ties, the Russian foreign minister says. 

Sergei Lavrov made the announcement on Wednesday, following a meeting with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault in France. 

“We until recently had very close contacts on Syrian settlement with Turkey, and then they were interrupted for clear reasons,” he said. 

Moscow-Ankara relations became strained last November after Turkey shot down a Rus­sian Sukhoi Su-24 aircraft with two pilots aboard, claiming the fighter jet had repeatedly violated Turkish airspace. 

Ankara argued that the Russian plane strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings. Russia, however, insisted the aircraft did not cross the border and accused Ankara of “planned provocation.” 

Moscow said the plane was brought down in Syrian airspace, where Russia has been conduct­ing combat sorties against Takfiri terrorists since late September 2015 upon a request by the Damas­cus government. 

“Now that the Turkish president sent apolo­gies to the Russian president, when they discussed possibilities of normalization of our relations by phone today, it seems to me that we with Turk­ish partners will resume interaction on search for ways to settle the Syrian crisis,” the Tass news agency quoted Lavrov as saying. 

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Pu­tin has ordered his government to start the pro­cess of normalizing trade ties with Turkey. 

“I ask that the Russian government begins the process of normalizing general trade and econom­ic ties with Turkey,” said Putin following a tele­phone conversation with his Turkish President 


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