Madrid, Jun 29 (EFE).- US president Joe Biden on Wednesday thanked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his country’s support in leading international efforts to release Ukrainian grain exports amid a Russian blockade of the Black Sea.
Biden also expressed his gratitude to Erdogan after the Turkish leader lifted its veto to the accession of Sweden and Finland into the alliance.
“He’s doing a great job, I just want to thank him,” Biden said at the start of a bilateral meeting with Erdogan on the sidelines of the Nato summit in Madrid.
The two were meeting after Turkey reached an agreement with Finland and Sweden in Madrid on Tuesday to unblock the two Nordic countries’ accession to Nato.
Erdogan said that his delegation would be able to return home with “full hands and full satisfaction” after the Nato summit.
According to the official translation, he praised the US’ role in Nato since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: “Your leadership in this respect is going to be crucial for strengthening Nato in the future,” he said.
He stressed that the conflict in Ukraine and its consequences in the oil and natural gas sector requires all sides to work together to find a settlement to bring the conflict to an end.
“I hope and pray that we can establish a balance so that there will be diplomacy in order to achieve positive results, especially with regard to grain,” the Turkish leader said.
Erdogan pointed out that there are countries suffering from grain shortages and stressed that Turkey will open “corridors” to allow the release of Ukrainian wheat.
Turkey reached an agreement with Sweden and Finland on Tuesday, with the mediation of Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, to allow the accession of the Nordic countries to the alliance, after Stockholm and Helsinki addressed Ankara’s concerns over the extradition of Kurdish guerilla rebels it considers terrorists.
The two leaders also discussed the modernization of Turkey’s F-16 bomber fleet, which a Pentagon official said Washington “fully supports.”
Earlier, Erdogan had indicated that the main topic of discussion with Biden would be the F-16s, whose sale he has criticized as having been “delayed” for some time. EFE