Saudi king, Erdogan hold talks

Riyadh: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Saudi Arabia’s top leadership on Tuesday during a visit to further strengthen ties as part of a Gulf tour ahead of Syria peace talks.
King Salman hosted a luncheon banquet for Erdogan, who arrived in Riyadh late on Monday, the official Saudi Press Agency said.
It gave no details of their discussions, but said Erdogan also met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the Interior Minister, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Defence Minister.
As Erdogan held talks in Riyadh, his Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told his ruling Justice and Development Party lawmakers in Ankara that Al Bab in northern Syria was “largely” under the control of Turkish-backed Syrian rebels after months of clashes with militants.
Al Bab was the IS group’s last stronghold in Aleppo province.
In January, Turkey, along with Assad allies, sponsored talks in Kazakhstan between Syrian rebels and government officials.
There was no breakthrough, but another round is expected in Astana this Wednesday and Thursday, before United Nations-sponsored peace talks resume in Geneva on February 23.
On Monday in Bahrain, Erdogan called for a “safe zone” in northern Syria for people displaced by the war.
The positions of Saudi Arabia and Turkey are “absolutely identical” on Syria, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said last week in Ankara.
He was attending the first meeting of a coordination council to enhance ties between the two countries.

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