GeriGündem Syria sees itself as a local peacemaker
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Syria sees itself as a local peacemaker

YEREVAN - Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad welcomed the normalization talks between Turkey and Armenia and offered to mediate more discussions between the two neighbors.

During an official visit to the Armenian capital Yerevan on Wednesday, al-Assad met with his Armenian counterpart, Serge Sarkisian, and said, "We in Syria have received with great satisfaction the steps that are aimed at normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations." "I told the president of Armenia that we are ready to help move forward those relations," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty quoted the Syrian leader as saying. He also argued that Syria is in a position to do so because of its "close relationships" with both Armenia and Turkey.

Sarkisian did not comment on al-Assad’s offer during their joint news conference. Instead, he praised the current state of Syrian-Armenian ties and stressed the need to boost bilateral economic cooperation. "Our friendship is a good example that must be showcased to both our peoples and others."

Ankara and Yerevan agreed in April on a "road map" deal for U.S.-backed talks that could lead to the normalizing of ties and the opening of their border, which Turkey closed in a show of support to Azerbaijan in 1993 after the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Turkish officials, however, have said Turkey will not open its border with Armenia before the neighboring country ends its occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, reassuring Azerbaijani leaders that Ankara's efforts to reconcile with Yerevan would not undermine the country's interests.

Syria held Turkey-mediated indirect talks with Israel last year, however, they collapsed over Israel's offensive on Gaza in late December. Damascus, which is seeking a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, Syria wants to resume stalled indirect peace talks with Jewish state, according to Turkish officials.
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