Erdogan, Trump meet over dinner in French capital

By Ilkay Guder

PARIS (AA) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump chatted for a while on Saturday during a dinner hosted by the French leader.

Erdogan arrived in Paris on Saturday at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron to attend the Armistice Day commemorations.

The dinner was given by Macron in the honor of world leaders and their spouses who came to Paris to attend the event.

Sitting next to each other, Turkish and the U.S. presidents had some talks.

Following his arrival in Paris, Erdogan also received UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The closed-door meeting lasted 45 minutes.

During his two-day visit, Erdogan is expected to hold bilateral meetings with world leaders, particularly with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

Nov. 11 Armistice Day marks the 1918 end of World War between the Allies and their opponent, Germany, on land, sea, and air.

This year’s ceremonies — to be hosted by Macron in Paris — will also see the attendance of nearly 100 world leaders, including U.S. President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Turkish Cypriot leader: Focus on results-based solution

By Betul Yuruk

NEW YORK (AA) – It is necessary to aim a result-oriented, scheduled and strategic package deal for the Cyprus negotiation process, said the president of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on late Friday.

“The old negotiation process is now closed. It is not possible to reach a different result by repeating the same things,” TRNC President Mustafa Akinci told reporters following his meeting with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at UN headquarters in New York.

“Therefore, it is clear that the Greek Cypriots, who insists on open-ended negotiation, insists on the non-solution,” he added.

Akinci said Jane Holl Lute’s –- appointed by Guterres as the temporary advisor to conduct consultations on Cyprus – report was not ready yet, but the report would be delivered to him in the coming days and that he would re-engage with the parties in the light of the report.

He said the report was going to be submitted to Guterres in one or two weeks and to the UN Security Council on Oct. 15.

He added that the report was going to be discussed on Oct. 30.

Akinci said he shared their views about the process with Guterres and reminded him that it was the 50th year of the negotiations.

He also added that it was not possible to go out of the framework of the UN, as the issue was being discussed at the UN and with its Secretary-General.

"If there is going to be a solution, it'll be in this framework," he added.

– Turkish Cypriots took brave steps for solution

Recalling 2004 and 2017 attempts for a solution on Cyprus, Akinci said Guterres witnessed all the positive contributions from Turkish Cypriots to those processes.

Akinci also emphasized that the Turkish Cypriots boldly took steps to ensure a solution in all processes, but they remained unrequited.

In 2004, negotiations over Cyprus resumed after a UN-backed Annan Plan to reunify the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities.

The reunification talks — brokered by UN Special Cyprus Envoy Espen Barth Eide — were launched in May 2015 to discuss a permanent settlement for the divided Mediterranean island.

The status of the island remains unresolved in spite of a series of discussions that resumed in May 2015.

There has been an on-and-off peace process over recent years, the latest failed initiative having taken place in Crans-Montana, Switzerland in July under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the U.K., collapsing last year.

Turkey’s president meets Japanese, Iranian leaders

By Betul Yuruk

NEW YORK (AA) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Monday with the leaders of Japan and Iran in New York.

The closed-door meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani came a day before Erdogan's address to the UN General Assembly's 73rd session.

The theme of this year's general assembly is Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies.

Erdogan also met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday at the organization's headquarters in the city.

Erdogan's schedule in New York runs through Wednesday.

UPDATE 2 – Turkish president meets UN chief in New York

ADDS STATEMENT FROM TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL SOURCES

By Betul Yuruk

NEW YORK (AA) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday at the organization's headquarters in New York.

The closed-door meeting came a day before Erdogan's address to the General Assembly's 73rd session.

The UN said Guterres "commended the excellent UN-Turkish cooperation, including in support of Turkey’s hosting of more than 3.5 million refugees".

"The Secretary-General and the President discussed the situation in Syria, with the Secretary-General welcoming the agreement reached on 17 September to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib," the UN said in the statement.

Turkey and Russia also signed a memorandum of understanding on that date calling for the "stabilization" of Idlib's de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Under the pact, opposition groups in Idlib will remain in areas where they are already present while Russia and Turkey will carry out joint patrols in the area to head off renewed fighting.

The theme of this year's general assembly meetings is Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies.

Erdogan's schedule in New York runs through Wednesday.

Later, Turkish presidential sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to media, said the two men confirmed their resolution to further develop close cooperation between Turkey and the UN.

Erdogan and Guterres also discussed measures taken for the de-escalation zone in Idlib following a deal between Ankara and Moscow in the Russian city of Sochi as well as the political process in Syria.

Some key global and regional issues were also addressed, according to the sources.

Erdogan also met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe behind closed doors.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank were also present at the meeting.

*Servet Gunerigok and Michael Hernandez contributed to this story from Washington

UPDATE – Turkish president meets UN chief in New York

ADDS UN STATEMENT

By Betul Yuruk

NEW YORK (AA) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the organization's headquarters in New York on Monday.

The closed door meeting came a day before Erdogan's address to the General Assembly's 73rd session.

The UN said Guterres "commended the excellent UN-Turkish cooperation, including in support of Turkey’s hosting of more than 3.5 million refugees," following the bilateral.

"The Secretary-General and the President discussed the situation in Syria, with the Secretary-General welcoming the agreement reached on 17 September to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib," the UN said in a statement.

Turkey and Russia also signed a memorandum of understanding on that date calling for the "stabilization" of Idlib's de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Under the pact, opposition groups in Idlib will remain in areas where they are already present, while Russia and Turkey will do joint patrols in the area to head off renewed fighting.

The theme of this year's general assembly meetings is Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies.

Erdogan's schedule in New York runs through Wednesday.

*Servet Gunerigok and Michael Hernandez contributed to this story from Washington

Turkish president meets UN chief in New York

By Betul Yuruk

NEW YORK (AA) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the organization's headquarters in New York on Monday.

The closed door meeting came a day before Erdogan's address to the General Assembly's 73rd session.

The theme of this year's meetings is Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies.

Erdogan's schedule in New York runs through Wednesday.

*Servet Gunerigok contributed to the story

Saudi King, Guterres discuss global peace, stability

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AA) – Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz on Sunday met the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The Saudi monarch received Guterres at his office in the kingdom's western city of Jeddah, the Saudi official news agency (SPA) reported.

The two sides, according to the SPA, discussed "the developments on the international scene, and various efforts aimed at achieving global peace and stability."

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki also arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday for a signing ceremony of a historic peace accord between the two countries.

The SPA said that King Salman invited Guterres to attend the signing of the agreement between the two African countries, without mentioning the date of the ceremony.

Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993, and from 1998 to 2000 the two countries fought a bloody war in which an estimated 70,000 people perished on both sides.

The two countries broke two decades of tension after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed extended an olive branch to the Eritrean president in his inaugural speech in April.

The men met in July, vowing to revamp relations and Eritrea opened its embassy in Addis Ababa in mid-July.

Ethiopia reopened its embassy last week in the Eritrean capital of Asmara after a 20-year hiatus.

UN chief warns against military escalation in Syria

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – Military escalation in northwestern Syria will lead to catastrophic consequences for civilians, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday, amid signs of an imminent offensive by regime forces on an opposition-held province.

Guterres stressed in a report to the UN Security Council that an increase in military activity could trigger massive population movements in the country and leave residents of the region with severely limit access to humanitarian assistance and basic services.

His statement came as the UN warned of a planned operation by regime forces in Idlib province that would lead to a "humanitarian disaster".

Guterres emphasized that military activity is a "worrying trend", especially in northwestern Syria, "where some 3 million Syrians continue to reside".

"I reiterate that the perpetrators of serious violations of international humanitarian law must be held accountable. Such a step is central to achieving sustainable peace in the Syrian Arab Republic. I also reiterate my call for the situation in the country to be referred to the International Criminal Court," he said.

Guterres called on all sides to avoid bloodshed and to "abide by the de-escalation agreement" and said that all parties in the conflict must adhere to international humanitarian law and protect civilians.

"There can be only one agenda for us all: to end the suffering of the Syrian people and to find a sustainable solution to the conflict in the country through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people."

Up to 2 million people who have been displaced across Syria came to northwest Syria to take refuge, but there have already been at least 37 attacks on health facilities in the Idlib region so far this year and civilians, aid workers and medical staff fear for their safety, according to the British government.

Syria’s brutal seven-year-long civil war has cost an estimated 400,000 lives, displaced more than 11 million people and led to a severe shortage of food, clean water and healthcare.

Gaps in Syria's chemical weapons declaration: Watchdog

By Safvan Allahverdi

WASHINGTON (AA) – The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said Thursday there are still gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies in the Syrian regime's declaration of its chemical weapons.

In its latest report covering the June 23 to July 23 period, the international chemical weapons watchdog said although the Bashar al-Assad regime has remained engaged with the OPCW, the information it has provided has not resolved the issues.

In April of this year, the European Union, U.S. and other countries called on the organization to investigate allegations that the regime had launched chemical attacks against civilians in Syria.

The U.S. government has confirmed that at least 1,400 people were killed in chemical weapons attacks in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in August 2013.

Additionally, Assad regime forces struck targets in the Damascus suburb in April of this year, allegedly using poisonous gas which left at least 78 civilians dead, according to the White Helmets, a local civil defense agency.

The regime denied the allegations, however, claiming that it had destroyed all its chemical weapons in 2013.

OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu confirmed in the report that its inspectors had verified the destruction of the last two of 27 chemical weapons production facilities declared by Syria.

He said the two facilities were destroyed in June, and on July 12, the OPCW "conducted inspections at both sites and verified that all declared buildings had been razed to ground level and all debris removed".

Citing the OPCW's report, however, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern over the failure of the Syrian regime to fully cooperate with the organization.

"I note with continuing regret that the OPCW remains unable to resolve all identified gaps, inconsistencies or discrepancies," he noted, urging the regime to extend its full cooperation to the OPCW to resolve the issues.

World congratulates Pakistan for holding elections

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – Several countries have congratulated Pakistan for holding general elections, saying they look forward to working with the new government.

Former cricket star Imran Khan's political party — Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) — has won over 110 seats in Wednesday's general elections; he is expected to form a government and become the country's next premier for a five-year term.

On Saturday, Afghan ambassador to Pakistan Dr. Omar Zakhilwal congratulated Khan on securing most seats in the Pakistani parliament. In a statement, Zahilwal called for Khan's constructive role in establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan, and urged him to support the hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

Earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres congratulated the people of Pakistan over Wednesday’s general elections. “By exercising their constitutional right to vote, the people of Pakistan have reaffirmed their commitment to a democratic Pakistan," Guterres said in a statement.

Guterres also commended the Election Commission of Pakistan, and said the UN wishes the new government success in "providing the people of Pakistan a stable, democratic, and prosperous future."

Heather Nauert spokeswomen for the U.S. State Department said the "United States commends the courage of the Pakistani people, including many women, who turned out to vote and showed resolve to determine their country's future."

She also mentioned the U.S. will search for opportunities to work with Pakistan to advance their goals of "security, stability, and prosperity" in the region.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “This is an important moment for democracy in Pakistan, marking an unprecedented second successive transfer of power from one full-term civilian government to another.”

While Hunt commended the Election Commission of Pakistan for its work to improve accountability, transparency and inclusiveness in the elections, he added: “Like the election observation missions, we are also concerned about reports of pressure on the media and the number of parties with links to proscribed groups who preach violence and intolerance. Jinnah’s vision of a tolerant, pluralist Pakistan remains central to a stable and cohesive society.”

Germany said it remains ready for a close and trust-based relationship with the new government of Pakistan.

In a written statement on Friday, German Foreign Ministry said: “Pakistan and its new government faces big challenges.

“Germany is ready for a close and trust-based relationship with the new government of Pakistan and support it in accomplishing its responsibilities.”