Turkish, Russian presidents discuss Upper Karabakh

By Enes Kaplan

ANKARA (AA) – The presidents of Turkey and Russia spoke over the phone Thursday about bilateral ties and regional matters including the Upper Karabakh region, according to the Turkish Directorate of Communications.

During the discussion with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested that experts from the two countries and Azerbaijan could hold talks on how to more efficiently re-establish roads and rail transportation lines in Upper Karabakh under an agreement signed on Jan. 11.

Erdogan also hailed the Turkish-Russian joint monitoring center in Upper Karabakh for successfully monitoring and controlling​​​​​​​ the ongoing cease-fire, according to the Directorate of Communications statement.

The Turkish president told his Russian counterpart that common efforts must be made to uphold a cease-fire in Upper Karabakh.

Azerbaijan and Armenia fought for six weeks last year after new clashes erupted on Sept. 27. The Armenian army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violated several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.

During the conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from the Armenian occupation.

The two countries signed a Russian-brokered agreement on Nov. 10 to end fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.

On the Syrian crisis, President Erdogan said a solution in the war-torn country would be of "common benefit," and stressed that the opportunity for peace and stability in Libya should not be wasted.

Syria has been ravaged by a civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protesters. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to UN estimates.

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. However, on Feb. 5, Libya's rival political groups agreed to form an interim unity government that will lead the country to elections in December.

*Writing and contributions by Merve Aydogan