UPDATE – Turkey, US to conduct joint patrols in Syria's Manbij

UPDATES WITH QUOTES FROM CAVUSOGLU, DACIC

By Merve Aydogan

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey and United States will begin "joint patrols" in northern Syria's Manbij to stabilize the region under a roadmap that focuses on the withdrawal of PKK-affiliated YPG terror group, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic in capital Ankara, Cavusoglu said: "Though there are few days of delay in the schedule, the process continues without a hitch. We are now entering a joint patrol period."

He added there are no "interruptions" in the military efforts that are being conducted with the U.S.

The military patrols in Manbij were being conducted separately since the beginning as training exercises were conducted in the meantime, Cavusoglu noted.

Turkey and the U.S. are currently experiencing rocky relations after Washington imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers when American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism-related charges in Turkey, was not released.

Describing the relations between Turkey and Serbia as "excellent", Cavusoglu said he and his counterpart discussed bilateral relations along with some of the regional matters.

In his remarks, Dacic said Serbia will "never take part in a coalition that would work against Turkey".

Dacic further praised the "outstanding" relations between the two countries and expressed willingness to further enhance relations in all fields.

"Next year we will mark 140 years of diplomatic relations. We want to further enhance this friendly relations," he added.

The two foreign ministers held the joint news conference following the inauguration of Serbia's honorary consulate in Antalya.

The inauguration ceremony had been attended by Turkey's Ambassador to Belgrade Tanju Bilgic, Serbian Ambassador to Ankara Zoran Markovic, Foreign Ministry's Antalya representative Ambassador Huseyin Avni Aksoy as well as Antalya Governor Munir Karaloglu.

Fikret Ozturk was appointed as the honorary consul.

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