Turkey, World, Middle East

US proposals on Syrian safe zone ‘not satisfactory’

Turkish foreign minister urges reaching of consensus as soon as possible since Turkey has run out of patience

Ali Murat Alhas, Busra Nur Bilgic   | 24.07.2019
US proposals on Syrian safe zone ‘not satisfactory’

ANKARA

Recent proposals by the U.S. officials on the establishment of a safe zone in Syria fall short of what is needed, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Wednesday. 

“New US proposals on a Syria safe zone are not at all satisfactory for Turkey,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told a press conference after meeting with Denis Moncada Colindres, his Nicaraguan counterpart. 

Cavusoglu went on to say that Ankara and Washington need to hammer an agreement as soon as possible, as Turkey has “run out of patience”. 

In addition, Cavusoglu said the establishment of a long-awaited committee to revise Syria’s constitution is on the horizon and might be announced in the coming days. 

Earlier this week, Turkey’s National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and James Jeffrey, the U.S. envoy to Syria, met in the capital Ankara and exchanged views. Military officials from both sides gathered on Wednesday and further discussed the issue of a safe zone in northern Syria. 

Last Friday, Akar told then-acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper: “The only military force that is ready, competent, and appropriate for the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria is the Turkish Armed Forces.”

Esper was confirmed as defense secretary on Tuesday. 

Since 2016, Turkey has conducted two major military operations in northwestern Syria -- Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch -- to purge the region of terrorist groups Daesh and the YPG, which is the Syrian branch of the terrorist organization PKK. 

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including many women, children, and infants. 

Colindres, for his part, stressed the importance of “peaceful solutions” between the states.

“The existence of peaceful solutions for the advancement of international law and human rights is essential to us,” said Colindres, adding they are against unilateral steps in the international arena.

On bilateral ties with Turkey, he said they agreed to strengthen the relations.

Nicaragua is willing to benefit Turkey's technical capacity on agriculture, tourism, health and animal husbandry, he added. 

Inviting Cavusoglu to Nicaragua, Colindres stated that they are ready to develop bilateral relations in every field.


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