UN chief Guterres heads to Turkey ahead of Arab tour

Antonio Guterres is expected to discuss upcoming peace talks on Syria during his talks in Istanbul with President Erdogan

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was scheduled to travel to Turkey later Thursday for talks ahead of a whirlwind tour of five Arab countries, a UN statement said.

Guterres is expected to push for progress in reaching a Cyprus settlement during his talks in Istanbul with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and also discuss upcoming peace talks on Syria.

He then travels to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Egypt for high-level talks expected to touch on Syria, Yemen, Libya and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Also read: United Nations preparing invitations to Syria peace talks

The UN statement said Guterres would discuss “a number of issues of regional and global interest” but did not offer details.

The former prime minister of Portugal who was UN refugee chief for a decade has said ending the nearly six-year war in Syria was a priority when he began his term on January 1.

The talks will be his first round of high-level diplomacy on Syria and on other Middle East conflicts. Guterres then attends a G20 ministerial meeting in Bonn and the Munich security conference.

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