A planned meeting of the foreign ministers of Turkey, Iran and Egypt on the Syrian crisis has had to be postponed after the Iranian minister said he would be unable to attend.
The three foreign ministers were expected to meet in Ankara on Saturday, the Anatolia news agency reported, citing diplomatic sources. But the meeting had to be postponed to a later date after Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi informed Ankara that he would not be attending. Salehi told Ankara that he plans to accompany President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a two-day visit to Vietnam that starts on Friday, according to private broadcaster NTV.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced last month a proposal for regional talks on resolving the Syrian crisis after a surprise meeting in Baku with Ahmadinejad. The three-part talks will involve talks among Turkey, Iran and Russia; Turkey, Iran and Egypt; and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, according to Erdoğan's proposal. Russia has announced backing for the proposal but there has been no statement to date as to when the planned talks are to begin.
News of the postponement came as Erdoğan had another unscheduled meeting with Ahmadinejad, this time on the sidelines of the 5th Bali Democracy Forum in Bali, Indonesia, on Thursday. The two leaders walked together for a while after meeting by chance at the forum venue, reportedly discussing Syria along the way. Erdoğan had bilateral meetings in Bali with the Afghan president and the prime ministers of Australia and Thailand, but no meeting was scheduled with Ahmadinejad.