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Putin will not meet Erdogan at Paris climate conference: Kremlin

Cairo has now said that it stands ready to fill any trade gaps left after Russia said it would impose economic sanctions on Ankara
Putin meets with Erdogan on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Antalya in November (AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not meet Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Paris climate conference, the Kremlin said on Monday. 

Tensions between Moscow and Ankara have been at fever pitch ever since Turkey shot down a Russian jet, claiming that it had violated its airspace. While NATO endorsed Turkey's findings, Russia has denied this with some independent evaluations querying the accuracy of both accounts. Erdogan alleges that Putin has not spoken to him since the jet was downed. 

Last week, Moscow said that Turkey had invited the Russian leader for sideline talks although it did not confirm whether the two presidents would meet. 

More than 100 world leaders have gathered in Paris for the meeting, also known as COP21, in hopes of reaching one of the most comprehensive agreements on climate change to date.

The conference comes just weeks after the Islamic State group staged deadly attacks in the French capital, killing 130 people, with security high and authorities clamping down on protests for safety reasons. After the attacks, French President Francois Hollande intensified air strikes over Syria and tried to reach out to Russia to create a broader anti-IS coalition. 

Turkey has said it will not apologise for the downing of a Russian fighter jet along the Syrian border on 24 November but Turkish Premier Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday urged Moscow to reconsider retaliatory sanctions in the hope of calming the crisis.

"Protection of our airspace, our border is not only a right but a duty for my government and no Turkish premier or president ... will apologise (for) doing our duty," Davutoglu told a joint press conference with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg after talks in Brussels on Monday. 

Davutoglu added that "we hope Russia will reconsider these measures in both our interests," referring to the sanctions that Moscow imposed after the shooting down of the jet.

Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend signed an executive order imposing economic sanctions against Turkey which targeted several organisations and placing temporary limitation on certain goods originating from Turkey.

The order also prohibits the employment of Turkish citizens by Russian employers as of 1 January next year. 

Egypt offers to replace restricted goods

Cairo has now said that it stands ready to fill any trade gaps left over following the restrictions, on Monday asking Russia to provide a list of goods that will be banned. 

"Egypt is interested in filling the needs of the Russian market in goods, especially those that were supplied from Turkey, in the wake of Russia's decision to restrict Turkish imports of fruits and vegetables to 66 percent, as well as clothing items," Egyptian Trade Minister Tarek Kabila reportedly said during a meeting with his Russian counterpart Denis Manturov, Egypt’s Ministry of Trade and Industry website said.