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Putin not planning new contacts with Erdogan — Kremlin

February 05, 2016, 12:30 UTC+3

The Kremlin is watching the situation around alleged plans of Saudi Arabia to launch a ground operation in Syria in coordination with Turkey

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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, February 5. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has not recently held and plans no contacts with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

"There have been no contacts," Peskov told reporters. "I know nothing if any contacts were planned," he added.

Earlier this week, Peskov said Putin had been told about the intention of Erdogan to meet with him. "Putin was informed of this wish of the president (of Turkey Erdogan)," Peskov said giving no further details on the Russian president’s reaction to the Turkish leader’s proposal.

Erdogan told reporters on Saturday that he wanted to meet with Putin to discuss the alleged violation of Turkey’s airspace by a Russian warplane. The Turkish president added that he asked Turkey’s Foreign Ministry to request a meeting with Putin.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry claimed that a Russian Su-34 fighter jet violated the country’s airspace on January 29. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov has dismissed Turkey’s claims as "unsubstantiated propaganda."

Saudi Arabia’s alleged plans to launch ground operation in Syria in coordination with Turkey

According to Peskov, the Kremlin is watching the situation around plans of Saudi Arabia to launch a ground operation in Syria.

Journalists asked Peskov to comment on British media reports that Saudi Arabia plans to launch a ground operation in Syria in coordination with Turkey. In a response to a question about Kremlin’s reaction to this, the spokesman said: "There is none yet. We are closely monitoring the situation, watching. I cannot say anything concrete now. The question should be addressed to the Defense Ministry."

Peskov added that the Kremlin does not know whether Saudi Arabia really plans to launch a ground operation in Syria.

TASS earlier reported citing The Guardian newspaper that Saudi Arabia offered to send ground troops to Syria to fight the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization in coordination with Turkey. The Guardian reported that both Ankara and Riyadh are committed to removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad and have serious doubts about prospects of political settlement without additional pressure on Damascus. Saudi Arabia and Turkey set up a military coordination body a few weeks ago.

Saudi Arabia’s military spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Asiri said previously that "the kingdom is ready to participate in any ground operations that the coalition (against IS) may agree to carry out in Syria." The statement came on the following day after inter-Syrian talks in Geneva under UN auspices were temporarily suspended.

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