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Talks on Moscow-Ankara ties restoration begin on July 26 — minister

July 26, 2016, 16:00 UTC+3

Russian and Turkish ministers will discuss Turkish Stream, tourism, food embargo and other bilateral issues

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Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev

Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev

© Alexei Druzhinin/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

MOSCOW, July 26. /TASS/. The negotiations on the restoration of Russian-Turkish relations will begin today at the level of ministries, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said after the meeting with Turkey’s Economy Minister Nihat Zekbeyci.

"We had a break in formation of the contractual framework for further development of our relations such as mid-term program of trade and economic cooperation, a draft agreement on liberalization of services and investments and the agreement on establishing a joint Russian-Turkish Investment Fund. We have agreed to give orders to our subordinates, our colleagues to resume the negotiating process already today to resume the interrupted negotiating process," the Russian minister said.

The Turkish stream

Russian Energy Alexander Novak will discuss resumption of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline construction project with the Turkish side today, Ulyukayev said.

"My colleague [Turkish Economy Minister - TASS] will meet today his counterpart in the intergovernmental commission [Energy Minister Alexander] Novak. Certainly, they will discuss this issue in detail," Ulyukayev said responding to the question about the Turkish Stream project.

An agreement to build the Turkish Stream gas pipeline was reached in December 2014. It was planned initially to build the gas pipeline of four lines having the annual capacity of 63 bln cubic meters of natural gas.

The intergovernmental agreement on the pipeline construction was postponed after relations between Russia and Turkey worsened dramatically.

The project was put on hold.

Gazprom’s Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said the company is ready to discuss the Turkish Stream and Turkey declares interest in the project's implementation.

"Turkey’s Minister of Economy raised the Turkish Stream issue and confirmed Turkey is interested in its implementation. An agreement was reached a working group of Russian and Turkey energy ministries will be set up to return this project to the implementation stage," Medvedev said.

The timeframe for project’s transition to the implementation stage may be identified only after signature of the intergovernmental agreement, Medvedev said. "Execution of the intergovernmental agreement is a precondition. As soon as it is signed, it will mean the project is moving to the implementation phase," he added.

Tourism sphere

The minister went on to say that head of the Russian Tourism Agency Oleg Safonov will visit Turkey shortly to discuss security issues regarding Russian tourists.

"Certainly we need security guarantees for our citizens being at risk in connection with known events after occurred terrorist acts. This was also discussed today, with attending head of the Russian Tourism Agency [Oleg] Safonov. An agreement was reached to visit Turkey and start working on provision of security guarantees for Russian tourists in-situ," the minister said.

The visit will take shortly to prepare decisions before the summit meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of Turkey Recep Erdogan in St. Petersburg on August 9, Ulyukayev added.

Security of Russian tourists on Turkish resorts and resumption of charter flights between Russia and Turkey will be discussed in Ankara on August 2, head of the Russian Tourism Agency Oleg Safonov told TASS earlier today.

"We agreed a number of my colleagues from the Russian Tourism Agency and I will come to Ankara. We fixed August 2 as the date to discuss outstanding questions," Safonov said.

The food embargo

According to  Ulyukayev, Russia will hardly lift the food embargo on Turkey before the Putin-Erdogan meeting.

"I do not think this will be quick. We agree this is a step-by-step and parity-based process. I should say frankly not merely Turkish colleagues have question regarding access of their products to our markets but we also have questions about access for our products, poultry and dairy products in the first instance. We expect this issue will be tackled bilaterally, and not unilaterally," the minister said commenting on the question regarding embargo lifting.

 Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said Turkey has asked Russia to remove ban on imports of Turkish food products.

"I have already done it," he said when answering the question if he would ask Russia to allow imports of food products that are now under embargo.

The minister added trade turnover between Russia and Turkey will grow, growth rate is difficult to forecast.

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