Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking before the start of talks between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul, expressed hope that they would facilitate a personal meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents.
“The progress made in these talks will allow the leaders of Russia and Ukraine to negotiate in person,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by Daily Sabah.
He noted that Turkey is also ready to host such talks between the two leaders on its territory.
Erdogan indicated that Turkey is “deeply concerned” about the situation around Ukraine and calls for a ceasefire.
“The negotiation process between Russia and Ukraine has raised hopes for peace. Ensuring a ceasefire as soon as possible would be beneficial to all parties,” the Turkish president said.
“We hope that the meetings [in Istanbul] will benefit both sides and the region,” he said.
“I think it is possible to come to an agreement that will suit both sides and the world community,” he stressed. Erdogan noted that a “permanent, fair, practical solution is required.”
Erdogan also stressed that Turkey is ready to perform mediation functions for as long as necessary. “We are ready to help the peace process as much as you need,” he said, addressing the Russian and Ukrainian delegations.
Negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations began in Istanbul on Tuesday morning, they are taking place in the Dolmabahce Palace.
As the President’s Office told Interfax-Ukraine, the Ukrainian delegation included leader of the Servant of the People faction in the parliament David Arakhamia, Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov, MPs Andriy Kostin and Rustem Umerov, adviser to the head of the President’s Office Mykhailo Podoliak, deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mykola Tochytsky, and Deputy Head of the President’s Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko.