15-06-2020 15:25:59

“Iranian counterpart meet face-to-face for 1st time since start of coronavirus outbreak”

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu made a speech at a joint press conference in Ankara

Turkey will continue talks with Russia to reach a lasting cease-fire in Libya, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Monday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin have “agreed to continue working together to establish a lasting cease-fire in Libya,” Mevlut Çavuşoğlu told a joint press conference alongside his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, who is visiting the Turkish capital Ankara.

Libya’s government, which enjoys recognition by the UN, has been under attack by warlord Khalifa Haftar's forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.

After launching a counter-offensive in March against attacks on the capital, Libya’s army recently liberated strategic locations, including the Al-Watiya airbase and Tarhuna, viewed as a significant blow to Haftar's forces.

Zarif’s visit to Ankara is the first by a foreign minister in months, since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

 Flights with Iran to resume

Turkey and Iran plan to resume flights on Aug. 1 after a months-long hiatus due to the virus outbreak, according to Cavusoglu.

“We have opened the borders. We will continue working for passages by both air and land,” he added.

On the instabilities in Turkey and Iran’s neighborhood, Cavusoglu said: “There is terrorism in our region. Terrorism is the enemy of us all.”

He added that the two countries need to continue working to fight terrorism in the days to come.

Zarif, for his part, thanked Turkey for helping Iran fight the pandemic.

Telling how Iran was one of the first countries to see victims of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, Zarif said it mostly overcame the outbreak using its national strength and the help of its friends in the region.

“This pandemic has shown that countries depend on each other, and unilateral policies are no solution,” he added.

Before the press conference, the two top diplomats signed a memorandum of understanding on their respective diplomatic and consular promises.