French FM to Turkey Thursday for talks with Erdogan, other officials

(MENAFN- Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) PARIS, Sept 13 (KUNA) -- French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian heads to Turkey Thursday for a two-day visit that will include talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yidrim, the Foreign Ministry announced here late Wednesday.

The visit comes amid some tension between Paris and Ankara over the detention of French journalist Loup Bureau, who was arrested by Turkish police on July 26 for alleged links with Kurdish parties.

Le Drian will ask all parties in Turkey he meets to work for the release of the French journalist.

"We have a demanding and constructive dialogue with Turkey and this visit is part of that," a statement said here.

The Foreign Ministry indicated also that "the talks will address the principal international and regional questions on which we have constant exchanges with Turkey." Subjects will include the Syrian conflict and the horizon after the defeat of so-called Islamic State terrorist groups, and also Le Drian will be discussing the perspective for a political solution in Syria, it was indicated here.

Other topics on the table include anti-terrorist cooperation, the challenges with climate change and Turkey's intended ratification of the Paris Accords of 2015.

Le Drian will also broach EU-Turkey relations which are at a low ebb point due to disputes between Germany and Turkey and criticism of Turkish arrests of French and German nationals.

The French Foreign Minister will stress to Erdogan that France does not want EU accession talks broken off with Ankara.

"We want therefore a rapid resumption of calmer and respectful dialogue," the French statement said.

The French and Turkish sides will also be discussing their strong but declining trade ties and ways to boost these.

Turkey is France's third largest market outside of the European Union and France is Turkey's sixth largest trading partner. (end) jk.mb


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