MOSCOW, June 2. /TASS/. Russian Defense Ministry representatives will be part of the delegation during Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's visit to Turkey, as military topics are also on the agenda, Russian president’s special envoy for the Middle East and African countries and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told TASS on Thursday.
"We are about to have contacts and negotiations of great importance. Lavrov will take part in the upcoming meetings. There will be a military component, our colleagues from the Defense Ministry and their Turkish counterparts [are to be present there]. I think all these issues will be discussed and clarified," he said, "The two delegations will be led by foreign ministers, but their delegations will include representatives not only of foreign policy, but also of military departments."
When asked about Ankara's plans to conduct a new Turkish military operation in northern Syria, Bogdanov urged not to speculate on the subject until the Russian delegation contacts with its colleagues in Turkey. "There is no need to speculate yet. We need to find out first. There will be contacts with Turkish colleagues. Therefore, we must wait. There is a lot of speculation now, but I think there's no point in speculating," he said.
The senior diplomat underlined that Russia advocates resolution of all issues through negotiations. "There are relevant mechanisms, and I mean the Astana format, where the Syrians and guarantors (Russia, Iran and Turkey - TASS) take part. I think that all issues related to ensuring a ceasefire, the settlement of all issues in accordance with those agreements that have been reached before, should be discussed within their framework," he added, "But with the understanding that terrorists have to be dealt with, one has to have a general idea of who is considered a terrorist and who and where is recorded as a terrorist. So we have to wait."
On Wednesday, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov reported that Lavrov's visit to Turkey was planned.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the same day that the republic's armed forces intend to conduct a new cross-border operation in the Manbij and Tel Rifaat areas of northern Syria against members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the National Defense Forces (NDF), which Ankara considers terrorist organizations.