JEDDAH — King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan are to hold talks on the Syrian crisis Friday, an official said here, Tuesday.
The parleys would be a mark of accelerating diplomacy on a crisis in which both countries have condemned the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad.
Anatolia news agency confirmed Erdogan’s visit. “I will visit Saudi Arabia. God willing, I’ll be there on Friday,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by the agency while on an official visit to China.
He emphasized that the year-long unrest in Syria would figure high on the agenda of his talks with King Abdullah, hoping that positive results would emerge from Friday’s contacts.
Saudi Arabia has led Arab efforts to isolate Assad over the violent repression of an uprising that has killed over 9,000 people.
Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper, citing officials, said Erdogan would request King Abdullah to see to it that Arab countries take the lead in coordinated international measures against the Syrian government.
The newspaper said Erdogan might then travel on to Moscow to meet Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Like China, Russia has resisted international efforts to pressure Assad into acceding to opposition demands, though it has supported the ceasefire.
Saudi Arabia condemned Syria’s failure to comply with the peace plan negotiated by the United Nations and Arab League’s envoy, Kofi Annan, by not pulling its forces out of cities on Tuesday. “The non-compliance with the plan ... reveals the inflexibility of the Syrian regime and its disregard for commitments to Arab and international bodies,” the Cabinet said on Monday. — Reuters