Middle East Tensions: Erdogan to talk with Putin tomorrow

Merkel to visit Moscow on Saturday

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ANKARA/BERLIN/MOSCOW
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to discuss regional issues during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit, Erdogan said in an interview aired by CNN Turk channel. During our meeting scheduled for January 8, we will be focusing on a wide range of issues, including regional issues and TurkStream, the Turkish president said.
Earlier, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin and Erdogan would meet in early January 2020 and would attend the ceremony launching the TurkStream gas pipeline. The Turkish Foreign Ministry reported that the ceremony was scheduled for January 8. Erdogan was hopeful that he alongside Putin would be able to “push for a ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib at the [January 8] meeting so that bombs will stop falling on civilians’ houses.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Moscow on Saturday to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin amid growing tensions in the Middle East and elsewhere. Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Monday that the chancellor will discuss “current international questions” with Putin. Those will include Syria, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Ukraine and bilateral issues.
Seibert said that “Russia is an important player on the world stage and as a permanent member of the (UN) Security Council it’s indispensable when it comes to solving conflicts in the world.” Germany is currently a non-permanent member of the Security Council. Germany and Russia are among the world powers that have been trying to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran after the US withdrew from the agreement unilaterally in 2018. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will accompany Merkel to Moscow, Seibert said.
the Kremlin’s press office reported on Monday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will arrive in Russia on a working visit on January 11 on the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the talks, the sides intend to discuss essential issues of the international agenda, including the situation in Syria and Libya, the escalation of tension in the Middle East as a result of the US airstrike on Baghdad Airport on January 3, the Kremlin press office reported.
“The sides will also consider the issues of settling the intra-Ukrainian conflict in the context of implementing the 2015 Minsk Package of Measures and the agreements reached at the Normandy Four summit in Paris on December 9, 2019,” the press office said. The situation in the Middle East deteriorated sharply after the Pentagon announced on January 3 that Commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (the elite wing of the Iranian military) General Qasem Soleimani had been killed in a US airstrike near Baghdad airport. The missile strike came on order of US President Donald Trump.

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