Erdogan says he won't meet with Pence and Pompeo

TEHRAN, Oct. 16 (MNA) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told that he will not meet with Vice President Mike Pence, who is currently leading a delegation with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Turkey to discuss a ceasefire in northern Syria.

"I'm not going to talk to them. They will be talking to their counterparts. When Trump comes here, I'll be talking," he said in comments made to Sky News on Wednesday, referring to the US delegation.

The US vice president’s office announced Tuesday that Pence would lead a US delegation including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, national security advisor Robert O’Brien and the special representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, to Turkey on Wednesday. The aim of the trip was to persuade Erdogan to stop his offensive into the region.

Pence was due to meet with Erdogan on Thursday to urge the Turkish leader to reach an immediate ceasefire as well as reiterate President Donald Trump’s commitment to maintain economic sanctions on Turkey until a resolution is reached, the vice president's office said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Erdogan vowed that he would not declare a ceasefire in northeast Syria.

“They say ‘declare a ceasefire’. We will never declare a ceasefire,” Erdogan told reporters.

“They are pressuring us to stop the operation. They are announcing sanctions. Our goal is clear. We are not worried about any sanctions,” he added.

The US has imposed new sanctions against Turkish officials and institutions over the country's incursion into northern Syria, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and VP Mike Pence announced on Monday.

Turkey on 9 October began pounding positions of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) with jets and artillery and sent in troops to purge them from the area east of Euphrates.

The offensive came three days after Trump in a sudden change of policy that was widely condemned by both Republicans and Democrats, told his counterpart Erdogan that he would pull US troops from the region, effectively exposing the Kurdish militants to their archenemy, Turkey.

MNA/PR

News Code 151312

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