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Thursday Apr 15 2021
By
Reuters

Turkish FM says he will call Afghan counterpart to discuss NATO talks

By
Reuters
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a press conference in Tirana, Albania. Photo: Reuters/File
  • Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says he will call his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Hanif Atmar later on Thursday.
  • Cavusoglu says Turkey is ready for talks with Greece on all issues.
  • Blames Athens for problems in bilateral dialogue mechanisms in past years.


Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he would call his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Hanif Atmar later on Thursday to exchange views and brief him on discussions held at NATO on Wednesday.

In an interview with broadcaster NTV, Cavusoglu said Turkey was ready for talks with Greece on all issues, blaming Athens for problems in bilateral dialogue mechanisms in past years.

NATO allies agreed on Wednesday for foreign troops under the alliance's command to withdraw from Afghanistan in coordination with a US pull-out by September 11, pledging to mirror American plans to start removing troops on May 1 after two decades of war.

Tensions flared last summer when Turkey sent a drilling ship to contested Mediterranean waters, but have eased slightly after Ankara withdrew the vessel and the countries resumed bilateral talks over their disputes following a five-year hiatus.

Dendias will hold talks with both Cavusoglu and President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, in the first visit by either side since last year's tensions. Cavusoglu and Dendias had met on the sidelines of an event in Bratislava last year.

Read more: Turkey wants to produce fighter jets and missiles with Pakistan: report

"We plan on meeting him (Dendias) in a sincere atmosphere. The dialogue and high-level visits between us and Greece are very important and pleasing," he said. "There are issues that we disagree over with Greece, we need to discuss these openly."

A 2019 maritime demarcation deal between Ankara and Libya's Tripoli-based Government of National Accord has also infuriated Greece, which says the accord is illegal. Athens has called for the agreement to be annulled, but both Ankara and Libya's new Government of National Unity have pledged commitment to it.

On Wednesday, Greece said it had agreed with Libya to hold talks on marking out their maritime zones in the Mediterranean, after a meeting with the president of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohamed al-Menfi.

Asked about the development, Cavusoglu said Libya could hold talks on maritime demarcation with any country, adding this was not a risk to the accord between Ankara and Tripoli.