U.S. and Turkish officials discuss Ukraine and NATO in unannounced meeting

WASHINGTON, Oct 2 (Reuters) – U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s chief adviser Ibrahim Kalin in Istanbul on Sunday and discussed Finland’s “progress in joining and Sweden to NATO,” the White House said in a statement.

The two men, whose meeting had not been announced to the media beforehand, also discussed Turkey’s condemnation of the annexation of Ukrainian territory by Russia.

NATO member Turkey has been engaged in a diplomatic balancing act since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Ankara opposes Western sanctions against Russia and has close ties with Moscow and Kyiv, its Black Sea neighbors. He also criticized the Russian invasion and sent armed drones to Ukraine.

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Sweden and Finland applied to join the military alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but NATO ally Turkey has raised concerns about their applications.

The three countries reached a breakthrough agreement on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid in June, with Turkey lifting its veto and Sweden and Finland agreeing on a set of measures to address Turkey’s concerns.

During their meeting, Sullivan and Kalin also discussed “their support for peace negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the importance of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve any disagreements in the Eastern Mediterranean, and their condemnation of the attempted illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory by Russia”. statement said.

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Reporting by Katharine Jackson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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