Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warns that the longer the conflict continues, the more difficult it is to reach a “just and mutually acceptable” solution.

"There is a need for more pro-active approach to diplomacy and mediation," says Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu. (AA)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that the decision by Russia to announce referendums shows "the seriousness of the situation" in Ukraine.

"Recent Russian decision on partial mobilisation and the announcement of annexation referenda in Luhansk, Donetsk, Herson and Zaporijia demonstrate the seriousness of the situation," Cavusoglu said on Tuesday while co-chairing the 12th Ministerial Meeting of UN Groups of Friends of Mediation on the sidelines of 77th session of UN General Assembly in New York.

The top diplomat said there is a need for a more proactive approach to diplomacy and mediation.

"This is why we selected, 'Avoiding Humanitarian Crises Through Mediation,' as the theme of our meeting today,” he said in opening remarks. "That’s what we try to do through our engagement with Ukraine and Russia."

Cavusoglu warned that the longer the conflict continues, the more difficult it is to reach a "just and mutually acceptable" solution.

He stressed that dialogue and diplomacy are the only way out of the seven-month conflict.

Call for mediation

Cavusoglu said Turkish authorities have initially been criticised by “some partners” for their diplomatic efforts between Russia and Ukraine.

"But now most agree that continuation of the war will inflict more damage to everyone, and foremost the Ukrainians," he said, adding that mediation can still protect lives when political dialogue and the peaceful settlement of disputes are difficult.

He cited the Istanbul grain deal as an example of diplomatic mediation, saying while millions of vulnerable people have been under additional stress because of rising food prices, the agreement avoided additional financial stress.

"Innovative approaches like this in conflict resolution and mediation could be used to alleviate other global concerns," he added.

READ MORE: Leaders at UN session denounce Russia over Ukraine crisis, referendum plans

Source: AA