Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met in Sochi on Tuesday to discuss international issues and help prepare for the scheduled Russia-Turkey Cooperation Council summit to be co-chaired by the two presidents, Putin and Erdogan respectively.
The council meeting at the presidential level will take place in Turkey “as soon as the situation allows,” Cavusoglu told a joint news conference after the two ministers’ meeting.
Βefore the Council, the relevant delegations should discuss a number of issues, including the full restoration of the visa requirement for Turkish citizens and the increase of quotas for the delivery of Turkish vegetables and fruits to Russia for the revival of the trade balance, which had been adversely affected by the pandemic, Cavusoglu said.
Asked about co-operation with Russia in developing the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the minister said it was going well and the parties had agreed to organize a joint production of the vaccine.
“We are not talking about unilateral delivery; we are talking about joint production,” he said.
For his part, Lavrov said that the implementation of major Russian-Turkish projects, including the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant and the further development of the TurkStream gas pipeline, will be completed in time despite the pandemic adjustments.
He also praised Turkey’s determination to continue military co-operation despite sanctions, which he described as “an attempt to promote the interests of American industry through unfair methods.”
The minister said Russia and Turkey were subject to Western sanctions for pursuing an independent policy in international affairs based on national priorities, and for seeking the common good through balance and co-operation.
In turn, Cavusoglu criticized as “illegal” the US sanctions against Turkey for the purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system.
“They go against our sovereign rights,” Cavusoglu said, adding that “we will not give up our intentions.”
Cavusoglu recalled that Turkey has already signed an agreement on S-400 air defense systems, stressing that “We will not stop.”
However, he added that Turkey is generally opposed to a policy of sanctions, noting that Ankara has not endorsed the EU sanctions against Russia and Iran and prefers to resolve the issues through dialogue.
Lavrov and Cavusoglu also discussed international issues, with a special focus on the the Nagorno-Karabakh agreement.
“We welcome Ankara’s desire to help the parties involved in the conflict fulfill their obligations; in particular, in the framework of the agreement signed by the presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and the prime minister of Armenia on November 9, as well as in the context of the joint Russian-Turkish center for monitoring the implementation of the ceasefire obligations,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov and Cavusoglu reaffirmed their commitment to continue the project on the basis of the Astana scheme, as it has proven its effectiveness and its ability to resolve the most pressing issues related to the situation on the ground.
“We talked about the implementation of our presidents’ agreements in the Idlib de-escalation zone. What has been agreed is being implemented, although we would like it to be done faster,” Lavrov said.
Regarding the crisis in Libya, Cavusoglu said that no country or individual, including warlord Haftar, has the right to ask Turkey to leave Libya, adding that “we have legitimate reasons to be there.”
Cavusoglu stressed that Turkey is not seeking profits in Libya, but is helping to achieve national unity and dialogue between the parties.
He also stressed that the international community must play a more active role in encouraging Libyan parties to work for peace. /ibna