Turkey’s presidential spokesman and US national security adviser on Tuesday discussed over the phone bilateral ties, Armenian attacks on Azerbaijan, and developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.

According to a statement by the presidential office, Ibrahim Kalin told Robert O’Brien that while supporting the cease-fire between Azerbaijan and Armenia declared on humanitarian grounds, a permanent solution can only be achieved through Armenia’s withdrawal from the occupied Azerbaijani territory of Upper Karabakh and its surroundings.

Armenia’s attacks against civilians violate the international law, and they are not acceptable, Kalin stressed in the phone talk, according to the statement.

He also noted that the international community should take concrete steps to ensure the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan under the decisions of the UN Security Council and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

A humanitarian truce was declared on Saturday for the exchange of prisoners and retrieval of bodies from both sides in the Upper Karabakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.

The cease-fire came after a trilateral meeting was held in Moscow on Friday between the foreign ministers of Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.

Despite the cease-fire, Armenian forces launched a missile strike on Azerbaijan’s second-largest city, Ganja — an area far from the front line — leaving at least 10 people dead and 35 wounded, including women and children.

Eastern Mediterranean

Stressing the significance of holding the Eastern Mediterranean Conference proposed by Turkey, Kalin also noted that Turkey’s good intentions and dialogue-based approach reduced the tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey’s expectation from the US to take a fair and impartial stance on the Eastern Mediterranean issue was also reiterated, the statement added.

During the talk, the Turkish presidential spokesman also told O’Brien that Turkey was pleased with the negotiation process in Libya, while the military activity on the Haftar side was a source of concern.

Fresh clashes began on Sept. 27 when Armenian forces targeted civilian Azerbaijani settlements and military positions in the region, leading to casualties.

In August, Turkey resumed energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal, spurning Turkey’s goodwill gesture in halting its search.

Declaring the Greek-Egyptian deal “null and void”, Turkey authorized the Oruc Reis to continue activities in an area within Turkey’s continental shelf.

Turkey has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Ankara has also said energy resources near the island of Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration of southern Cyprus.

Renewed efforts of the Oruc Reis in the Eastern Mediterranean will be within the Turkish continental shelf hundreds of kilometers away from the Greek mainland, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said Monday.

It urged Greece to withdraw its maximalist demands, end military drills that escalate regional tensions, and establish sincere dialogue through exploratory talks.

* Writing by Havva Kara Aydin.

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