Turkish President Erdoğan, Russian defense head discuss Syria


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu have discussed upcoming intra-Syrian talks to be held in Kazakhstan, the Turkish presidential spokesman said on Monday.

"As you know, terminating the Syrian crisis and ending the war is an extremely important process that we have launched together with Russia," Ibrahim Kalin told a news conference in Istanbul.

Kalin said the main agenda item between Erdoğan and Shoigu had been the fifth round of Astana talks to start on Tuesday.

"Of course, we are making every effort to make the Astana process successful. We will use every means available and contribute [to the process]," he added.

Erdoğan received Shoigu on Sunday at Tarabya Palace in Istanbul.

At the fourth meeting in the Kazakh capital on May 4, the three guarantor countries -- Russia, Turkey and Iran -- signed a deal to establish de-escalation zones in Syria.

"As you know, one of the most important phases is the creation of de-escalation zones in Syria and the determination of a roadmap how this mechanism would work. Technical work related to this are continuing," Kalin told reporters.

Kalin said Turkey will make an "intense" effort to end the Syrian crisis, to realize a political transition process and to deliver humanitarian aid.

He added Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will "most probably" meet on July 8 on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the German city of Hamburg.

Kalin said the presidents will find a chance to evaluate the outcomes of the Astana meeting.

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