Despite backing opposite sides in the Syrian conflict, Russia and Turkey have worked closely in recent weeks to broker a nationwide ceasefire that is meant to pave the way for January 23 peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana.
In the past, Washington has played a key role in attempts to bring Syria’s warring parties to the negotiating table, but it has been notably absent from the cooperation between Ankara and Moscow.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, whose country, like Washington, backs Syria’s militants, nonetheless insisted Thursday that US officials would be invited.
“The United States should be definitely invited, and that is what we agreed with Russia,” he said.
“Nobody can ignore the role of the United States. And this is a principled position of Turkey,” he added, AFP reported.
But the Kremlin, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, declined to comment on Cavusoglu’s statements.
“I cannot say anything about this for now,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
He added however that Russia is “interested in the broadest possible representation of the parties who have a bearing on the prospects of a political settlement in Syria.”
Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed hope that the next American administration would “join the efforts so that we can work in the same direction harmoniously and collectively.”
The Astana talks are scheduled to begin just three days after president-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated.