Turkish FM denies giving 'exact date' for Assad ouster

The minister said he was set to travel to New York next Wednesday for a UN Security Council meeting which would discuss the Syrian refugees issue.

Turkish FM denies giving 'exact date' for Assad ouster

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish foreign minister has said his country would do all in its power for the safe release of all Lebanese nationals who are held hostage in Syria.

"What ever the political issues are, we have never given up on the humanitarian concerns. We always warned all the sides in order not to suffer from more kidnappings. We will do our utmost in order to free the rest of the kidnapped Lebanese nationals," Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters on Saturday in Istanbul following the release of one of the 11 Lebanese citizens who were abducted by Syrian armed groups three months ago.

Davutoglu said Turkey had exerted intense efforts for the release of Hussein Ali Omar who crossed into Turkey after his release and then returned to Lebanon in a private Turkish jet.

"Top Lebanese officials asked for our help. We put so much effort into it. I held talks with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament Nabih Berri," the Turkish minister said.

"We were in close touch with Lebanese officials since the kidnapping. We explained them the situation that we cannot accept the idea of swapping the hostages. Even before one of our citizens was kidnapped in Lebanon, we had been working on freeing the Lebanese citizens. We will keep doing this separately. We are repeating our call for the release of the Turkish citizen once again from here. These two incidents are separate. That's how we see it," the Turkish minister said.

"No exact date"

Davutoglu also rejected that he was giving "an exact date" for the Assad regime's ouster when he had said that its days were numbered. In a televised interview on Friday, the Turkish minister said that the Syrian regime had "months, and may be even weeks, but not years."

"My remarks were only to underline that a regime which brutally persecuted its own people cannot survive long. It would be wrong to give exact dates in such matters as this one," Davutoglu told reporters.

"UN to discuss Syrian refugees"

Responding to a question over the growing numbers of Syrian refugees arriving in Turkey, Davutoglu said his country would continue to provide shelter to the new comers even if their number exceeded 100 thousand.

The minister said he was set to travel to New York next Wednesday for a UN Security Council meeting which would discuss the Syrian refugees issue.

"Turkey will continue to stand side by side with its Syrian brothers but it is not right to place the burden solely on the shoulders of Turkey, Jordan or other neighboring countries. So we will make a call to the United Nations to take more comprehensive measures, and we will discuss with all sides about precautions to be taken in the event of a greater influx," he said.

Last Mod: 26 Ağustos 2012, 14:48
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