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Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 22:40

Erdogan to meet Putin on Aug 9

By Reuters

Erdogan to meet Putin on Aug 9
In this file photo taken on Nov 16, 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) a nd Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talk to each other as they pose for the media before their talks during the G-20 Summit in Antalya,Turkey. ( AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan next month for the first time in almost a year, a sign that a rapprochement between the two nations is gathering pace.

Russian trade sanctions imposed on Ankara over the Turkish shooting down of a Russian jet near the Syrian border last November remain in place, and Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said on Tuesday they were unlikely to be lifted before the two leaders met.

Ulyukayev was speaking as senior officials from the two nations, including Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, met in Moscow to lay the ground for a gradual thaw in ties.

The Kremlin and the Turkish government said Putin and Erdogan would meet on Aug 9 in the Russian leader's home town of St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city.

The shooting down of the Russian fighter jet, which was taking part in the Kremlin's campaign to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, prompted Moscow to impose sanctions on Ankara to hurt its tourism and construction sectors.

It also banned Turkish food imports.

"The agenda has not been discussed yet ... but beyond all doubt, there is much to talk about," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters, referring to the planned Putin-Erdogan meeting.

"This will be the first meeting after that collapse in our relations, the first one after the leaders of the two nations turned over that page," Peskov said. "Therefore, it's possible to say with confidence they won't lack topics for discussion."

Meanwhile, a political decision has been taken to continue work on the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey, Russian news agencies cited Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci as saying on Tuesday.

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