Monday, 18 March, 2019

U.S. acknowledges threat to Turkey from terrorists, Pompeo says

Pompeo Visits Middle East to Increase Pressure on Iran Pompeo starts Middle East visit to ramp up pressure on Iran
Patty Aguilar | 10 January, 2019, 21:22

The trip comes amid confusion over conflicting Trump administration statements about a planned US troop withdrawal from Syria.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said releasing the fighters, among them Europeans and some USA citizens, would be "unacceptable" since they could simply rejoin the remnants of Islamic State fighters in Syria or elsewhere.

Pompeo's visit to Iraq is part of a weeklong Middle East tour that began in Jordan and is expected to continue with stops in countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Kuwait.

The US top diplomat made his remarks while on a whistlestop tour of the Middle East to address the concerns of regional allies about the surprise pullout plan. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis quit over it.

What is the US's approach to Syria?

To do so, Turkey would vet the Syrian Kurds who fought with the USA against ISIS and include those "with no links to terrorist organizations in the new stabilization force", Erdogan wrote."Only a diverse body can serve all Syrian citizens and bring law and order to various parts of the country", he wrote.

Washington has repeatedly said its Kurdish allies will remain safe despite the withdrawal.

Mr Erdoğan - who considers the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists - said Turkey would "not make concessions" and preparations for an offensive were almost complete. He said USA allies in the region, including Jordan, agree on what they view as the "enormous risk" Iran poses for the region.

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McKinney's sentiment echoed that of President Donald Trump , who tweeted early Tuesday that the talks "are going very well! ". This meeting was previously unscheduled, signaling the two sides could be coming together on key issues.

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His family say he suffers from acute asthma and shortly before his latest visit he underwent chemotherapy for a neck tumour. The prisoner issue has long added to the tensions between Iran and the United States.

"It's important that we do everything we can to make sure that those folks that fought with us are protected and [Mr] Erdogan has made commitments, he understands that", Mr Pompeo told reporters.

There has been no indication from the Trump administration of any plans to pull the much larger US military contingent in Iraq out of the country, but a withdrawal from neighboring Syria, given the two nations' long shared border, would be of significant concern to Baghdad. Pompeo has stressed throughout his trip to the region that Washington still aims to counter Iranian influence.

On Thursday, Pompeo said: "For those who fret about the use of American power, remember this: America has always been and always will be a liberating force, not an occupying power".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo, Egypt, January 10, 2019.

USA officials had said the two were expected to have consultations on Tuesday about the fate of Kurds allied with the U.S.in Syria as part of discussions about Trump's troop draw-down. But thousands returned to help the Baghdad government fight Islamic State, after the jihadist group seized swaths of the country in 2013 and 2014. While that decision's timing is unclear, it is widely seen as abandoning the region and benefiting USA rivals Russian Federation and Iran. The party's militants have been waging an insurgency in Turkey's south east for decades.

"We will complete the mission of taking down the last elements of the caliphate before we depart", said Pompeo, referring to ISIL. "He told you that 9/11 (the September 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks on the United States) led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East", Pompeo said. "We will raise those issues, and how to deal with regional issues altogether and deepen our economic and educational relations with the United States".

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