Putin and Erdogan see eye-to-eye, but not on tomatoes

Cheryl Sanders
May 5, 2017

"We are getting back to a normal cooperative partnership".

With a ceasefire ever elusive in Syria, the White House said Washington would send a representative to ceasefire talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday and Thursday.

Russian Federation is working on a proposal that would see peacekeepers separating four opposition-held areas in Syria from regime forces, a former member of the High Negotiation Committee told CNN.

During Wednesday news conference, Erdogan said he hoped "this zone of de-escalation will be accepted" at the talks.

Domestic agricultural producers borrowed loans for production development after Russia had imposed the ban on supplies of tomatoes and other agricultural products, the Russian leader said.

But the talks in the Kazakh capital got off to a rocky start as the opposition delegation suspended its participation in protest against ongoing air raids n the war-torn country.

"President Trump and President Putin agreed that the suffering in Syria has gone on for far too long and that all parties must do all they can to end the violence", the White the White House said yesterday.

The Kremlin said the leaders also agreed in Tuesday's call to try to set up their first in-person meeting in July, on the sidelines of an worldwide summit in Germany.

Trump during his presidential campaign a year ago frequently said he wanted safe zones established for Syrian refugees, paid for by Gulf states, to alleviate any need for the refugees to move elsewhere, including to the United States.

While Assad managed to turn the tide of war in his favor after Russian Federation started an air campaign in September 2015, continued fighting between his forces and rebels backed by the U.S. and its allies including Turkey and Saudi Arabia stand in the way of a political settlement. Russia and Turkey remain at odds over trade restrictions after a chill in relations that lasted for months when the Turkish air force shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border in late 2015. Moscow said Putin called for "restraint and an easing of tensions", and "it was agreed to organise joint work aimed at achieving diplomatic solutions and a comprehensive settlement of the problem".

Fadi Hakura, a Turkey expert at the UK-based think-tank Chatham House, told Al Jazeera that that the bilateral talks had not clarified whether Russian Federation will remove trade sanctions against Turkish agricultural exports or ease visa restrictions on Turkish citizens visiting Russian Federation.

Putin hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks in Sochi on Tuesday, in which they re-affirmed their commitment to the Minsk agreement for resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Other reports by iNewsToday