Turkey, US, Russia, Saudi talks end inconclusive in Vienna

Media reports say foreign ministers from Turkey, United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia could not make much progress on how to resolve Syrian crisis in latest meeting in Vienna

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir speaks to the press following his meeting with American, Russian, Turkish counterparts on Syria conflict on Oct. 23, 2015

Updated Oct 24, 2015

Media reports have stated that foreign ministers from Turkey, the United States, Russia, and Saudi Arabia could not make much progress over a resolution on the increasingly complicated Syrian crisis in their rare gathering in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

The crucial meeting followed embattled Syrian President Bashar al Assad's visit to Moscow, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Oct. 20.

Putin has suggested that Kurdish groups in Iraq and Syria should join forces with the respective governments to fight against ISIS, in a speech made in southern Russia on Thursday, following his meeting with Assad, according to the BBC.  

Turkey’s Feridun Sinirlioglu gathered for talks with John Kerry of the US, Sergei Lavrov of Russia and Adel al Jubeir of Saudi Arabia for the Vienna meeting on Friday.

Turkey, the US, and Saudi Arabia has consistently defended to topple the Assad regime-backing opposition groups, while Russia has supported the regime since the beginning of the conflict.

Furthermore, Russia began its Syria bombing campaign on the side of the Assad regime on Sept. 30, targeting mostly Syrian opposition-held territories in the country other than ISIS, which has strongly been protested by Turkey, the US and NATO alliance.

Kerry said that "what we agreed to do today is to consult with all parties and aim to reconvene, hopefully as early as next Friday with a broader meeting in order to explore whether there is sufficient common ground to advance a meaningful political process," speaking to journalists following the meeting, according to the AFP.

He also refused Russian proposal of Iranian involvement into the process of the Syrian conflict resolution saying that, "for the moment Iran is not at the table. And there will come a time perhaps where we will talk to Iran but we are not at the moment at this point of time."

In addition, it seems that the top diplomats could not agree on the role of Assad in the so-called transition process of the Syrian conflict.

Kerry stated that the existence of Assad “creates an impossible dynamic for peace,” while Lavrov has insisted that “"the fate of the president of Syria must be decided by the Syrian people."

Jubeir also emphasised that “there are still some gaps with regards to the departure of Bashar al Assad and the timing of such a departure,” following the meeting, according to Turkish Anadolu Agency.

“We agreed to continue to have further discussions and consultations, perhaps with a broader range of countries in order to see if we can arrive at a consensus for moving forward with regards to Syria,” he added.

Russia-Jordan talks

However, Russia and Jordan - which is a member of US-led anti-ISIS coalition - agreed to establish a “special working mechanism” in Amman, the Jordanian capital, to share information in the fight against “terrorism,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, following a separate meeting with his counterpart from Jordan.

“The military of the two countries have agreed to coordinate their actions through a working mechanism in Amman, capital of Jordan,” Lavrov was quoted saying by the Rossiya-24 television channel on Friday.

AFP also reported Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh saying, "I hope this mechanism will be effective in fighting all terrorism in Syria and beyond," speaking at a joint press conference with Lavrov.

“Under an agreement between His Majesty King Abdullah II and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, the militaries of the two countries have agreed to coordinate their actions, including military aircraft missions over the Syrian territory,” Lavrov said.

“We think that other states that participate in the anti-terrorist fight can join this mechanism as well,” he added.

The agreement marks the first time Russia has engaged with a Sunni power in the region to deal with the threat of ISIS militant group, which has seized swathes of territory across Iraq and Syria.

Jordan, which is also a member of the US-led coalition, had already been targeting ISIS as part of the year-long aerial campaign.

More than 250,000 people have been killed in Syria since the civil war started in 2011 between the Assad regime and opposition forces, following the Arab Spring movement that swept a number of countries in the Middle-East and North Africa.

In addition, 6.7 million people have been displaced internally while at least 5 million have fled the country to the neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan.

TRTWorld and agencies