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Samir Humbatov: Turkey is becoming the main coordinator of the process

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For the first time since Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine on February 24, 2022, a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba took place on March 10, 2022 at the initiative and with the participation of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. Of course, looking at the course of events and the statements made by the parties in advance, it was stated before the meeting that no serious results were expected at this meeting. In an interview after the meeting, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba confirmed that no significant progress had been made, but stressed the importance of continuing the talks.
Later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov answered journalists’ questions for about half an hour. Lavrov’s statement also showed that no serious progress had been made. Even on issues such as achieving a long-term ceasefire, opening a humanitarian corridor and evacuating people from war zones, such an agreement does not seem to have been fully reached.
At the same time, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, commenting on the meeting, said that it was not convincing to get a serious result. This is the first such contact and you should not expect a miracle. In general, the holding of this meeting can help to achieve serious results in the coming periods. It is also clear from the ministers’ views that the issue of organizing a meeting of presidents may be on the agenda during the next meetings.
On the eve of these meetings, the visit of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to Turkey and the bilateral meeting with the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara are among the important issues. According to some reports, the sides discussed bilateral relations, energy issues, issues related to the Shusha Declaration, the latest situation in Turkish-Armenian relations, regional and global issues.
Another important issue of yesterday was the call of US President Joe Biden to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after this tripartite meeting. According to the report, the telephone conversation focused on Turkey’s position in the Russian-Ukrainian war, the meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers initiated and attended by Turkey, as well as regional and global issues.
Both the meeting of the Russian and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers, the visit of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to Turkey and the meeting and bilateral discussions with the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, as well as the US President’s call to Turkey and the telephone conversation lasted up to 1 hour. .
First of all, it should be noted that there was no such high-level telephone conversation from the United States before or during the war over the Russian-Ukrainian tension, and this call lasted a year. At the same time, if Biden welcomes the Turkish side to bring together the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine, it means that there are some signals to ensure the interests of the United States.
Another important issue here is the visit of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev at such a time. If we take into account that the Shusha Declaration was discussed at the meeting between the President of Turkey and the President of Azerbaijan at this sensitive moment, it can be considered as a sign of new activity in the region, especially in the South Caucasus.

Samir Humbatov

Center for International Relations and Diplomatic Studies

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