Putin in Iran for Syria summit, overshadowed by Ukraine crisis – News

Putin will discuss grain export mechanisms with Erdogan during collection



PA

By AFP

Published: Tue, Jul 19, 2022, 6:58 PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Tehran on Tuesday for talks on the war in Syria at a tripartite summit overshadowed by the fallout from his country’s attack on Ukraine.

Putin traveled abroad for only the second time since ordering the attack on Ukraine to attend the rally also attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The summit comes days after US President Joe Biden visited the Middle East for the first time in his presidency, with stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia.

It is the first organized by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi since he took office last year and is apparently aimed at ending more than 11 years of conflict in Syria.

All three are involved in the conflict, with Iran and Russia backing Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and Turkey backing rebel forces.

Prior to the trilateral meeting, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with Erdogan.

Erdogan, speaking later at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart, said the Kurdish militias were causing “big problems” for both Iran and Turkey.

“We must fight against these terrorist organizations in solidarity and alliance,” he added.

The presidents also oversaw the signing of a number of agreements in different areas, including trade and the economy.

Erdogan has been offering to meet Putin for months in a bid to help resolve heightened global tensions.

“The date of this summit is not a coincidence,” said Russian analyst Vladimir Sotnikov.

During their talks, Putin and Erdogan would discuss grain export mechanisms from Ukraine, a Kremlin source said.

Turkey – a NATO member on good terms with Russia and Ukraine – has spearheaded efforts to resume grain deliveries.

Ultimately, Erdogan hopes to get the “green light” from Putin and Raisi for Turkey’s military operation in Syria, said Sinan Ulgen, visiting fellow at Carnegie Europe.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned on Monday that Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports was threatening supplies for countless thousands of people vulnerable to starvation.

Borrell dubbed the problem “a life-or-death problem for many human beings.”

Christi C. Elwood