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Conditions not yet ripe for Assad-Erdogan meeting — Russian envoy

It is noted that communication between Turkey and Syria continues through special services

MOSCOW, November 28. /TASS/. Conditions for a meeting between the Turkish and Syrian presidents, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Bashar al-Assad, are not yet ripe, but Russia will work to expand lines of communication between Ankara and Damascus, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev said in an interview with TASS on Monday.

"A summit meeting between the presidents of the two countries, Erdogan and Assad, is quite a decisive and substantial move, and has a symbolic significance to it as well. But we believe that conditions are not ripe for it yet," Lavrentiev said when asked if the Syrian side had asked Moscow to mediate in top-level contact between Damascus and Ankara.

Communication between Turkey and Syria continues through special services, he noted. "We believe that it should be expanded, including through foreign ministries, some other state agencies that could address the issues that are of great importance for the two countries, both for Syria and Turkey. This can be done on a bilateral basis, and we, for our part, are ready to provide any mediation assistance we can. We will work towards that," he added.

The special presidential envoy underscored that the meeting of the two leaders required preparation. "Taking into consideration that Erdogan made statements that Bashar Assad should step down and that he didn’t see any other development in the events, the meeting of the Turkish and Syrian presidents should be prepared, conditions should ripen," Lavrentyev summed up.