No concessions given to Turkey to support Finland, Sweden: US
- "There was no request from the Turkish side for the Americans to make a particular concession," a senior administration official told reporters.
The United States said Tuesday that no concessions were given to Turkey to secure its green light for Swedish and Finnish entry into NATO at the start of the alliance's summit in Madrid.
"There was no request from the Turkish side for the Americans to make a particular concession," a senior administration official told reporters.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official called Turkey's decision a "powerful shot in the arm" for NATO unity.
Turkey is an important NATO member in a strategically sensitive location, but it has had often tense relations with its European partners and Washington, which is the alliance's main military force.
A plan to equip Turkey with state-of-the-art US F-35 stealth fighters fell through after Turkey bought Russia's S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, something Washington saw as potentially threatening the security of the F-35 programme.
Turkey next set out to buy new F-16 fighter jets, as well as upgrades for its existing fleet of the same planes. However, that deal is also on hold and there has been speculation that Turkey was holding up the NATO accession bids of Finland and Sweden to try and leverage US concessions.
"There's nothing the United States offered in direct connection with this," the US official said. "Nothing about Turkish requests to the United States was part of this agreement. This is an agreement strictly among the three countries -- Turkey, Finland, Sweden. The United States is not a part of it."
Although the official insisted that Biden did not want the United States to act as a "broker" or to be "in the middle" of the deal between Turkey and the northern European applicants, he said Biden deserves credit for lengthy behind-the-scenes diplomacy.
According to the official, it was Biden who, soon after Russian invaded Ukraine in February, "reached out" to Finland and Sweden "to begin discussions" about them joining the transatlantic alliance.
Once Turkey made clear its opposition -- claiming that the two countries harboured anti-Turkey Kurdish militants and also demanding that they lift bans on selling weapons to Turkey -- the Biden administration began trying to smooth over the differences, the official said.
"We have been painstakingly working to try and help close the gaps between the Turks, the Finns and the Swedes, all the while trying -- certainly in public -- to have a lower key approach to this, so that it didn't become about the US or about particular demands on us," the official said.
"That's how we ended up to where we are today," the official said.
Biden and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan talked early Tuesday and will meet in person on Wednesday and the US leader is "keen" to make progress on their relationship, the official said.
Israeli security forces killed a Palestinian militant commander and another fighter in a gunbattle in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, the military said, triggering further clashes in which Palestinians said two teens were killed in separate incidents. Israeli forces surrounded the house of Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, a senior commander of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades militant group long on Israel's wanted list.
United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Asia tour, which won bipartisan support at home and among the world's democracies, has escalated tensions with not just one, but two, regional rivals. Pelosi last week led a congressional delegation to Taiwan, in addition to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan, despite weeks of warnings from Beijing of repercussions if the top leader in the US Congress landed in Taiwan.
NEW DELHI: China's “geostrategic ambitions” go well beyond Taiwan as its influence extends to Southeast and South Asia and all freedom-loving countries should work together to respond to the “expansion of authoritarianism”, Taiwan's foreign minister Joseph Wu said on Tuesday. China's People's Liberation Army has said the drills focused on joint blockade and joint support operations. “China's influence also extends into Southeast Asia, South Asia, and even Africa and Latin America,” he said.
Three local witnesses told Reuters they had heard loud explosions and seen black smoke rising from the direction of a Russian military airbase at Novofedorivka in western Crimea on Tuesday. Three were particularly loud, triggering sparks and smoke. Also Read This country will train Ukrainian military on landmine removal Russia for decades leased the naval port of Sevastopol, home of its Black Sea Fleet, from Kyiv, but annexed the entire peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said members of Congress won't be intimidated by China's reaction to her visit to Taiwan and that Chinese President Xi Jinping was acting “like a scared bully.” Just because Xi “has his own insecurities, doesn't mean that I am going to have him do my schedule for members of Congress,” Pelosi said Tuesday on NBC's “Today” show.