17:23 GMT07 July 2020
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    Germany's special coordinator for Russia policy Gernot Erler urged to restore the work of the NATO-Russia Council, as current tensions between NATO member Turkey and Russia may complicate international efforts in the settlement of the Syrian crisis.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, a Russian Su-24 jet crashed in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the plane was downed by an air-to-air missile launched by a Turkish F-16 jet over Syrian territory, falling 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the Turkish border, and called it a "stab in the back" carried out by "accomplices of terrorists."

    "The NATO — Russia Council must, at last, fully resume its work," Erler said in an interview published Thursday in the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung newspaper.

    According to him, the so-called Vienna process, which combines international efforts on ending the Syrian war, could be "seriously damaged" due to the downing of the Russian aircraft by Turkey.

    The last round of Syria talks in Vienna took place on November 14, and involved regional and world powers, including Russia and Turkey.

    The NATO-Russia council, which was launched in 2002, suspended all operations in April 2014 over NATO's allegations of Moscow' involvement in the Ukrainian crisis — a claim that Moscow had repeatedly denied.


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