North Atlantic Treaty Organisation marks 70th anniversary with Washington meeting of Foreign Ministers

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation marks 70th anniversary with Washington meeting of Foreign Ministers

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation marks 70th anniversary with Washington meeting of Foreign Ministers

Senior U.S. military leaders were optimistic on Tuesday that Turkey would receive America's next-generation fighter jets, despite Ankara's threats to purchase a Russian-made missile-defense system that could reveal critical information about the U.S. jets.

The Pentagon said on Monday that it had halted delivery of F-35 related parts to Turkey because of the latter's purchase of the S-400 defence system from Russian Federation.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu appeared unmoved by the USA threats, saying the purchase of the S-400 system "is a done deal".

"This is a tough issue, all alliances have tough issues, but I'm confident we'll grind our way through it and emerge as strong allies on the back side", he said.

On Monday, the Pentagon took its first retaliatory step and stopped delivery of F-35 fighter jet parts and manuals to Turkey.

She said the United States package was designed "to assure that there is a safe passage for Ukrainian vessels through the Kerch Strait".

"We didn't make this pledge to please the United States".

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Just seven out of 29 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies pay the minimum two per cent GDP spending target in 2018: the United Kingdom, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and the United States, with the last picking up the largest share, spending 3.39 per cent, according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

"We are partners on one hand and competitors on the other - not only regarding the economy, but we also have very different political systems", German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a summit in Brussels last week.

"As Turkey's ally, we recognize Turkey lives in a tough neighborhood and its acquisition decisions are its sovereign choice", he added, while adding that the S-400 purchase was "fundamentally incompatible" with the Patriot offer. The U.S. intelligence community has identified Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman as the plan's architect - an assessment Trump and his cabinet members have contradicted in public statements. Two additional jets are scheduled to arrive in Arizona in April and a significant delay could impact Turkey's November target date for operations.

"Should Turkey procure the S-400", acting chief Pentagon spokesperson Charles Summers says in his announcement suspending deliveries to stand-up the program in Turkey, "their continued participation in the F-35 program is at risk".

Despite the U.S. suspension, Erdogan said three F-35 jets had been delivered, though they remain in the US. Turkey has shown interest in the Patriot, but not at the expense of abandoning the S-400.

On Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an address to the U.S. Congress that Russian Federation has violated the INF treaty by deploying mobile, hard-to-detect nuclear-capable missiles in Europe.

In a PBS Newshour interview broadcast on Wednesday, Cavusoglu said Ankara proposed "to form a technical working group and to examine" any United States concerns over the S-400s.

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