Russia, Turkey Fail to Agree on Syria

Posted December 3rd, 2012 at 2:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Russia and Turkey have again failed to come to an agreement on how to help end the Syrian conflict, an issue on which the two countries sharply disagree.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad throughout the crisis, blocking Western-sponsored resolutions at the United Nations condemning the Syrian government. Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — a former Syrian ally — is one of Damascus' most vocal critics.

On Monday, the two leaders met in Istanbul, where they discussed Syria and other issues — including bilateral trade and Turkey's request for NATO to deploy missiles near its Syrian border. Meanwhile, protesters with banners and placards against Mr. Putin's visit gathered outside the Russian consulate in Istanbul.

After the meeting, the two leaders told reporters that they did not reach an agreement on how to proceed on Syria.

Mr. Putin's one-day visit to Turkey was his first foreign trip in two months. The Russian leader was originally due to travel there in October, but the trip was postponed over speculation about his health.

During that month, tensions between the two countries on Syria came to a head when Russia objected to Turkey intercepting a Syrian plane en route from Moscow to Damascus on suspicion that it had military cargo.

Trade is important between the two countries as Turkey relies greatly on Russia's natural gas exports and Russia uses Turkish construction companies.