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Biden discusses Russia-Ukraine conflict with Erdogan

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ANKARA: Turkey will continue its efforts to achieve a political solution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told US President Joe Biden over the phone.

Biden expressed “appreciation” for Turkey’s efforts to support a diplomatic resolution to the conflict, the White House said in a statement.

The two leaders discussed on Thursday regional developments, including the Ukraine situation, as well as bilateral ties, according to a statement by the Turkish Presidency’s Directorate of Communications.

It is important that Turkey is in the position of a facilitator searching for a solution in case the Russia-Ukraine crisis deepens further, Erdogan told Biden.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki added the call lasted for about an hour.

Even organising a meeting of foreign ministers of Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine in Antalya is a diplomatic victory by itself, he stressed, referring to the Turkey-hosted dialogue that took place earlier on Thursday.

It was the first time that Moscow and Kiev met at the ministerial level since Russia attacked its neighbour two weeks ago.

In the phone call with Biden, Erdogan also noted that it was time to lift all unjust sanctions on Turkey’s defence sector.  

The Turkish president has been pushing for a diplomatic solution in Ukraine since tensions between Moscow and Kiev began spiralling.

And after Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, Erdogan chaired a security summit with a number of Cabinet ministers and key staffers at the Presidential Complex.

He had a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy, with follow-ups on February 26 and March 4.

He also spoke on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 6. 

During the call, Erdogan told Putin that Turkey was ready to help solve the Ukraine issue by peaceful means as soon as possible.

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