Middle East

Quartet meets in New York to discuss Syria

Turkey's Prime Minister and leader of Justice and Development Party (AKP) Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during a party meeting in Istanbul September 22, 2012. The party's September 30, 2012 congress is unlikely to offer any sign Erdogan, viewed by many Turks as their strongest leader since Ataturk, is loosening his grip on a heavily-centralised party or on the country as a whole. Picture taken September 22, 2012. To match story TURKEY-AKP/ REUTERS/Murad Sezer

BEIRUT: Quartet powers Egypt, Iran and Turkey met to discuss the Syrian conflict in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly late Thursday, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official told The Daily Star.

The official said foreign ministers from the Quartet powers, minus Saudi Arabia, met, contradicting earlier reports that Egypt’s President Mohammad Mursi had canceled the meeting because of the absence of Turkey’s prime minister.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been due to travel to New York to join the General Assembly meetings but cancelled last minute. Officials cited a heavy work schedule ahead of a key ruling party congress Sunday, but some observers said it was a sign of frustration at the international deadlock.

“The foreign minister [Ahmet Davutoglu] will attend the working dinner,” the Turkish official told The Daily Star, adding the meeting would be at a foreign ministers level.

“[Turkey] has supported the Quartet initiative from the beginning.”

Mursi launched the Quartet of Egypt, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia last month, looking to make his mark with what he has described as a balanced foreign policy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 28, 2012, on page 1.




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