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(photo credit: AP [file])
In a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Ankara Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said that Turkey was willing to host more indirect talks between Syria and Israel.
"There have been four rounds of talks between Syria and Israel and we had suspended our mediation during Gaza war, but whenever Syria and Israel are ready and if they ask we can get involved in the process again," Babacan said.
A Turkish government official said Clinton told Babacan that the United States was looking to see whether "a new chapter" in relations with Syria was possible. She said the United States would welcome Turkey's contribution to improved ties to Syria. The Turkish official who was present in the meeting spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.
Babacan on Saturday reiterated Turkey's position on the need to engage Hamas. Similarly, Turkey urged the United States to engage Iran, the official said. Clinton did not respond but took notes, he said.
At the press conference, Clinton announced that US President Barack Obama will visit Turkey soon, making the Muslim nation bridging East and West one of the first foreign visits of his presidency. The trip would mark an improvement in a long friendship between two NATO allies that has been strained by the invasion of Iraq and other issues.