Erdogan meets King Salman ahead of Syria talks

Riyadh: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Saudi Arabia’s top leadership on Tuesday during a visit to further strengthen ties as part of a Gulf tour ahead of Syriapeace talks.

On Tuesday, King Salman hosted the visiting Turkish president in al-Yammamh Palace. He arrived in Riyadh late on Monday.

During the meeting, they discussed developing further relations between the two countries and regional security issues.

Erdogan also met with Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

His trip comes ahead of two separate Syria peace talks scheduled to be held in Kazakhstan this Wednesday and Thursday and a round of UN-backed talks in Geneva on February 23.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia both support the militants fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

The Geneva talks were originally planned to take place on February 8, but UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said he had rescheduled them to take further advantage of the fruits of Astana discussions.

On January 23-24, Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, hosted talks on Syria organized by Iran, Russia and Turkey, with the presence of representatives of the Syrian government and opposition groups.

For nearly six years, Syria has been fighting foreign-sponsored militancy. De Mistura estimated in August last year that more than 400,000 people had been killed in the crisis until then. The UN stopped its official casualty count in the war-torn country, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.

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