Pom­peo work­ing to­ward deal on Syria with Tur­key

The Sun Herald (Sunday) - - Obituaries & News - BY MATTHEW LEE


De­spite Tur­key’s vows to the con­trary, Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo said Satur­day he was con­fi­dent the two na­tions can agree on a way to pro­tect U.S.al­lied Kur­dish rebels in Syria after Amer­i­can troops with­draw from the coun­try.

After speak­ing to Turk­ish For­eign Min­is­ter Mev­lut Cavu­soglu, Pom­peo said an agree­ment was a work in progress but can be achieved in a way that al­lows the Turks to de­fend their coun­try while leav­ing alone Kurds who do not pose a threat.

The top U.S. diplo­mat said he was “op­ti­mistic” that Kurds who fought along­side U.S. forces against the Is­lamic State group in Syria are not threat­ened by pledges from Tur­key’s Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan to launch mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions against what he terms Kur­dish “ter­ror­ists.”

“We rec­og­nize the Turk­ish peo­ple’s right and Pres­i­dent Er­do­gan’s right to de­fend their coun­try from ter­ror­ists and we also know that those who aren’t ter­ror­ists, those who were fight­ing along­side us all this time, de­serve to be pro­tected and we are con­fi­dent that we can achieve an out­come that achieves both of those: pro­tect the Turks from le­git­i­mate ter­ror threats and pre­vent any sub­stan­tial risks to folks who don’t present ter­ror risks to Tur­key,” Pom­peo told re­porters.

Tur­key has re­jected any role for Kur­dish fight­ers in restor­ing peace.

As­so­ci­ated Press

Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo, cen­ter, and Vice Adm. James Mal­loy visit Manama, Bahrain, Fri­day as part of Pom­peo’s tour of Mid­dle East­ern coun­tries.

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