ISTANBUL - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday he had suggested to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad three-way talks including Egypt on the Syria crisis, given the apparent Saudi objection to Iranian involvement in a current quartet.
Egypt formed that group with Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, but the latter stayed away from a meeting hosted by Cairo last month. Riyadh's no-show was seen by diplomats as a reaction to the presence of Shi'ite Muslim Iran, the major rival of the Sunni Muslim kingdom for regional power and influence.
Speaking to reporters on his return to Ankara from Baku, where he held talks with Ahmadinejad at an Economic Cooperation Organisation summit, Erdogan offered various options for countries to get involved in future Syria talks.
"We proposed a three-way system here. This system could be a trio of Turkey-Egypt-Iran," the state-run Anatolian news agency reported Erdogan as saying. "A second system could by Turkey-Russia-Iran. A third system could be Turkey-Egypt-Saudi Arabia."