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Putin, Erdogan discuss Middle East and Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin has held talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara

ANKARA, December 11. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday his talks with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, focused primarily on the situation in the Middle East that has deteriorated dramatically and on the Syrian settlement.

"Naturally, the focus was made on the situation in the Middle East settlement that has deteriorated dramatically and on the Syrian affairs where our countries are closely cooperating," he told journalists after the talks. 

Putin said he had discussed possible convening of a Syrian National Dialogue Congress in early 2018 with Syrian President Bashar Assad earlier in the day.

"We are conducting joint work to prepare and convene the Syrian National Dialogue Congress at the beginning of the next year," he said after talks with Erdogan. "It is a secret to no one that I spoke about it with President Assad during my today’s visit to Syria."

Putin said that Russia and Turkey agree that the United States’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has a destabilizing effect on the situation in the region.

"Both Russia and Turkey believe that the decision of the United States’ administration to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy to that city in no way promotes the settlement of the situation in the Middle East. On the contrary, it destabilizes the situation in the region which is already tense," he said.

According to the Russian leader, this decision may frustrate prospects for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. "Russia insists that this settlement be implemented exclusively and fully on the resolutions passed earlier within the United Nations," Putin stressed. "Concrete parameters of an agreement of Jerusalem’s status are a subject for direct Palestinian-Israeli talks."

The Russian president said that his Turkish counterpart has informed him about preparations for a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation due to be held in Istanbul on Wednesday. "Naturally, as an observer country in this organization, Russia will be represented at this forum," Putin noted.

He thanked the Turkish leader for an open and constructive dialogue. "We are determined to continue develop cooperation between our countries on the basis of principles of good neighborly relations and respect of each other’s interests," the Russian president added.