Turkish parliament's foreign affairs committee endorses maritime MoU with Libya

Clay Curtis
December 6, 2019

Esper's remarks in an interview with Reuters could signal the end of turbulence and uncertainty surrounding the U.S. military presence in Syria after President Donald Trump's initial withdrawal order in October.

"It will be relatively static around that number".

As both leaders attended the NATO Anniversary Summit in London this week most of the speculation had focused on a side meeting happening there, and the lack of an announcement had generated concern in Athens.

Many European allies criticised Turkey for its incursion in north-eastern Syria in October, facilitated by the US troop pull-out.

"The coalition is talking a lot again. We will tell them this openly", he said.

"If an allied country, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation country, made a decision to give us 50 people, I might be able to turn off 50 people".

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USA military vehicles in Syria.

In London, Trump said he wanted remaining United States forces to ensure Syria's oil reserves don't fall back into the militant group's hands. "And the oil is what fuelled ISIS", Trump said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

Turkey didn't get any concessions from its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies on branding the YPG as terrorists. He further said that he will try to talk openly and that it's in Turkey's interest to retrench from provocative moves.

The announcement substantially bolsters Mitsotakis' position in his December 4 meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who himself just returned from a White House meeting last month after causing NATO-wide furore over the maritime border Memorandum of Understanding Turkey just signed with the internationally-recognised Libyan government.

"There's no movement at this point", Esper said.

The Baltic nations had expressed confidence that Erdogan's objection would not seriously threaten the plan, and that it would be resolved, as it ultimately was. "So we got to keep them in the fold".

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