June 13, 2020 / 2:44 PM / 20 days ago

Russian ministers to visit Turkey for talks on Sunday

FILE PHOTO: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is seen after a joint news conference with his Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto in the House of the Estates in Helsinki, Finland March 3, 2020. Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander via REUTERS

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu will visit Turkey on Sunday for talks, the two countries’ foreign ministries said on Saturday, with media reports saying discussions would focus on Libya.

Turkey supports Fayez al Serraj’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), whose forces have in recent weeks repelled a 14-month assault on Tripoli by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

Russia, along with the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, backs the LNA. The United Nations said on Wednesday that Libya’s warring sides had begun to engage in a new round of ceasefire talks.

“During the visit, delegations are expected to have consultations and discuss coordination on regional issues,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said of the visit by the Russian delegation, which will include military and security officials.

Turkish state broadcaster TRT Haber said the ministers would also discuss the situation in Syria.

Russia backs Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s forces, while Turkey supports opposition fighters. A Turkish-Russian deal three months ago produced a ceasefire that halted fighting in northwest Syria’s Idlib, but air strikes hit the region this week.

Additional reporting by Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber in Moscow; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Louise Heavens and Ros Russell

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