The Latest: Vladimir Putin Extends Condolences To Turkey

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has sent his condolences to Russia and the family of assassinated ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov.

Karlov was shot dead at an art gallery in Ankara by a gunman who shouted, “Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria!”

In a statement, Zuma highlighted that the incident was in violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

The International Relations statement states that "terrorism in any form and from whichever quarter constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security".

It added that any acts of terrorism were criminal, unjustifiable and could not be condoned.

Turkey and Russia are calling it a provocative terror attack.

Russian and Turkish leaders say they will not allow the assassination of the Kremlin's ambassador to Ankara to affect their friendship.

On Monday, President Vladimir Putin said Karlov's murder was a despicable provocation aimed at spoiling Russia-Turkey ties and derailing Moscow's attempts to find, with Iran and Turkey, a solution for the Syria crisis.

Putin, who said he personally knew the slain envoy, said he had agreed in a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan that Russian investigators would soon fly to Ankara to help the Turks with the investigation.

"We must know who directed the killer's hand," Putin told Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Sergei Naryshkin, the head of his SVR foreign intelligence service, and Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the domestic FSB security service.

Putin ordered security at Turkish diplomatic facilities in Russia to be stepped up and said he wanted guarantees from Turkey about the safety of Russian diplomatic facilities.

"I also ask you to implement the agreed proposals on strengthening security at Russian diplomatic facilities abroad," Putin told the meeting.

The foreign and defence ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey are due to discuss the future of Syria in Moscow on Tuesday.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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