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Vladimir Putin, Turkey President Erdogan discuss COVID-19, Libya, Syria over phone

In a thorough discussion of the situation in Libya, Putin and Erdogan expressed deep concern about the ongoing large-scale clashes in the country, which led to numerous casualties and destruction, the statement added.

SNS | New Delhi |

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wedneday discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and the situation in Libya and Syria over the phone, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Both the leaders have discussed actual aspects of the response to the pandemic and emphasized the importance of phased lifting of restrictive measures and restoration of the full volume of bilateral trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian ties, the statement further said.

In a thorough discussion of the situation in Libya, Putin and Erdogan expressed deep concern about the ongoing large-scale clashes in the country, which led to numerous casualties and destruction, the statement added.

On Tuesday, in a telephonic conversation, Putin discussed the Libya’s situation with Geraman chancellor Angela Merkel and examined problems of the intra-Ukrainian conflict settlement.

The Russian side gave a positive assessment of Egypt’s mediation efforts to peacefully settle the Libyan crisis, following on from the decisions of the international conference on Libya held in Berlin on January 19.

Libya has been locked in a civil war since the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The situation escalated in 2014, splitting power between two rival governments: the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli and a government in the northeastern city of Tobruk allied with the Haftar-led Libyan National Army (LNA).

While discussing the situation in Syria, the parties stressed the necessity of increasing efforts to implement the Russian-Turkish agreements on the Idlib de-escalation zone, including the additional protocol of March 5, 2020, to the Sochi memorandum of September 17, 2018, the Kremlin said.

In February this year, both the leaders reaffirmed their countries’ commitment to previous agreements on Syria.

Earlier, the Syrian regime and Iranian-backed groups had also launched a ground offensive in Aleppo province, a designated de-escalation zone that forced at least 13,000 more civilians to move toward Turkey’s border.

Turkey launched a cross-border assault on Kurdish fighters after the US decided to withdraw troops from Syria, a move that was criticised by the Republicans, with some terming it a “betrayal” of the Kurds.

More than 50 people, including civilians, have been killed last year as the Turkish offensive in Syria, which was launched by President Erdogan aimed at pushing the Kurdish forces away from its border.