ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday it was important for Ankara to maintain dialogue with both Ukraine and Russia to prevent their conflict from worsening.
Erdogan also told Biden in a phone call that Turkey’s facilitator role in trying to find a solution to the conflict was important, according to a statement from his office.
NATO member Turkey, which shares a maritime border with Russia and Ukraine in the Black Sea, has good relations with both countries. It has called Russia’s invasion unacceptable although it opposes sanctions against Moscow.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba met in Turkey’s southern Antalya province on Thursday under Ankara’s auspices.
But the highest-level contact between the two sides since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine made no apparent progress towards a ceasefire.
It also did not reach a solution for a humanitarian corridor from the southern Ukrainian port of Mariupol.
In the call with Biden, Erdogan said arranging the meeting between Lavrov and Kuleba was in itself a diplomatic victory.
Both Kuleba and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who hosted the talks, said it was not an easy meeting.
(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Alex Richardson and Angus MacSwan)