US VP, top diplomat to visit Turkey for talks


U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will soon depart for Turkey to hold talks with top officials regarding Ankara’s ongoing Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria, President Donald Trump said Tuesday.

Pence will be accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he departs Wednesday, Trump said in remarks delivered at the White House.

A U.S. delegation will leave Tuesday ahead of the departure of the senior officials, according to the president

The vice president’s office released a statement adding Pence will be further accompanied by National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, and Trump’s special envoy for the anti-Daesh coalition James Jeffrey.

“In Turkey, the Vice President will voice the United States’ commitment to reach an immediate ceasefire and the conditions for a negotiated settlement,” it said.

Pence is set to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a bilateral meeting for a bilateral meeting, according to the office.

“The Administration is resolved to maintain security in the region, the safety of civilians, and the continued detention of ISIS fighters,” the office said, using another name for the Daesh terrorist organization.

The U.S. announced sanctions Monday on two Turkish ministries and three senior government officials over Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northeastern Syria.

Washington imposed sanctions on the Ministry of National Defense and Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, as well as their heads and Ankara’s Interior minister.

“We are prepared to impose additional sanctions on Government of Turkey officials and entities, as necessary,” the department said in a statement.

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
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