Russia-Turkey Talks to Discuss Libya and Syria Postponed

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An expected visit to Turkey by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu planned on Sunday has been postponed suddenly, with no reason.

The Russian officials were scheduled to arrive in Turkey to discuss the latest developments in the Libyan crisis, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

The visit was announced on Saturday by the two countries’ foreign ministries, with Syria and Libya expected to feature high on the agenda.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, while Syria is facing fresh protests in the face of a spiralling economic crisis.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Mehr news agency reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was also due to visit Istanbul for talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday before traveling to Moscow.

Turkey, Iran, and Russia are behind the Astana process, an effort to end Syria’s nine-year civil war. While Turkey backs militias opposed to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, Russia and Iran have propped up his regime, enabling it to retake most territories apart from Idlib in the northwest.

Russia and Turkey agreed to a cease-fire in Idlib last March that halted the air and ground campaign of the Syrian government for three months. Activists said that suspected Russian airstrikes hit villages near Idlib on Tuesday, following fighting between gunmen and government forces in the province’s south.