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UN chief backs Turkey's legitimate security concerns

Endorsement comes amid US proposal for 20-mile safe zone in northern Syria

  | 18.01.2019
UN chief backs Turkey's legitimate security concerns United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres holds a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States on January 18, 2019.

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON

Turkey has justifiable security interests in northeastern Syria, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Friday amid calls for a buffer zone the area.

Guterres said any solution must take into account Syria's territorial integrity, the "legitimate security concerns" of Turkey, and recognition of Syria's diversity.

"These are the three criteria that we have in analyzing any proposal that might eventually exist," Guterres said.

In a Twitter post on Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed the establishment of a 20-mile (32-kilometer) wide safe zone in Syria's eastern Euphrates region. Later, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a phone talk with his U.S. counterpart and evaluated the details of the safe zone.

The proposal will be discussed during an upcoming Russian-Turkish presidential-level meeting, according to Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.

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