Erdogan at odds with Russia over control of Syria-Turkey safe zone

A Turkish military convoy moves at Kirikhan of Hatay region in Syria’s border. (AFP)
Updated 24 February 2019

Erdogan at odds with Russia over control of Syria-Turkey safe zone

  • ‘If there is to be a safe zone along our border then it must be under our control. Because that is my border’
  • Turkey has no right to set up the zone without seeking consent from Syrian President Assad — Russian FM

JEDDAH:  Moscow and Ankara are at odds over who would control a proposed "safe zone" along Turkey’s border with Syria, with Russia's foreign minister saying on Sunday that Russian forces could do the policing.

Sergei Lavrov was quoted by Russian news agencies saying that Turkey had no right to set up the zone without seeking and receiving consent from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On Saturday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said any safe zone along Turkey’s border with Syria must be under Turkish control, 

“If there is to be a safe zone along our border then it must be under our control. Because that is my border,” Erdogan said in an interview with broadcaster CNN Turk.

He was speaking after a senior US administration official said on Friday Washington would leave about 400 US troops in Syria, a reversal by President Donald Trump that could pave the way for US allies to keep troops there.

Ankara regards the Kurdish YPG militia, which controls that region and has been a key US ally against Daesh, as a terrorist group. Turkey has repeatedly threatened to intervene militarily against the YPG east of the Euphrates river where the safe zone is planned.

Lavrov was cited as saying on Sunday that the format of the safe zone was in the process of being finalized by military leaders, and that any decision would take the interests of Damascus and Ankara into account as far as possible.

“We have experience in combining cease-fire agreements, safety measures and the creation of de-escalation zones with the roll-out of Russian military police,” Lavrov was cited as saying. “Such a possibility is being kept open for this buffer zone.” 

Trump ordered the withdrawal of all 2,000 US troops from Syria in December after saying they had defeated Daesh, a decision criticized by allies and US lawmakers.

He was persuaded on Thursday that about 200 US troops should join what is expected to be a total commitment of some 800 to 1,500 troops from European allies to set up a safe zone in northeastern Syria, a US administration official said.

Ankara regards the Kurdish YPG militia, which controls that region and has been a key US ally against Daesh, as a terrorist group. Turkey has repeatedly threatened to intervene militarily against the YPG east of the Euphrates river where the safe zone is planned.

 

(With Reuters)

 


Sudan calls on UN to urge Ethiopia, Egypt not to take unilateral measures on Renaissance Dam

Updated 6 min 35 sec ago

Sudan calls on UN to urge Ethiopia, Egypt not to take unilateral measures on Renaissance Dam

  • Sudan is arranging to continue its bilateral meetings with the Egyptian and Ethiopian ministers to start negotiations

DUBAI: Sudan called on the United Nations Security Council to urge Ethiopia and Egypt to refrain from taking any unilateral measures regarding the Renaissance Dam, the state news agency SUNA reported on Wednesday. 
The Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Yasser Abbas, said the memorandum submitted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Asma Abdalla, to the Security Council was a statement of “Sudan’s inherent right to this important file.” 
Abbas said the letter asked the Security Council to urge all parties to refrain from taking any unilateral measures that may affect regional and international peace and security.
He said Sudan was arranging to continue its bilateral meetings with the Egyptian and Ethiopian ministers to start negotiations on the Renaissance Dam, which has been stalled since last February.
He said the video conference meetings would be held with each delegation separately. 
In the letter sent to the Security Council, Abdalla said Sudan was keen to resume the tripartite Renaissance Dam negotiations with Egypt and Ethiopia.
Abdalla, who became Sudan’s first female Minister of Foreign Affairs last year in the transitional cabinet of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, said her country was ready “to reach a comprehensive and satisfactory settlement.”