U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is hoping to push Turkey to agree to a ceasefire in north-eastern Syria when he meets President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Thursday.
Yet, hours before Pence’s departure, President Donald Trump sought to distance himself from the conflict saying it has “nothing to do with us,” while warning Ankara that Washington could impose further sanctions if there is no ceasefire.
“I think they will have a successful meeting.
“If they don’t, the sanctions and tariffs and other things that we are doing, we will do and are doing to Turkey, will be devastating to Turkey’s economy,” Trump said on Wednesday.
Erdogan has rejected any attempt to broker a truce and had said that Turkey was not worried about sanctions.
He also made clear that Turkey would not negotiate with Syrian Kurdish militias: “Turkey will not sit at the same table with the terrorist group.”
Trump’s decision to pull back U.S. troops from north-eastern Syria last week and abandon its Syrian Kurdish partners paved the way for Turkey’s incursion on Oct. 9.
Trump has invited Erdogan to the White House on Nov. 13.
The Turkish leader has said he would only decide on visiting Washington after the U.S. delegation talks.
Erdogan and Pence will meet at 2:30 pm (1130 GMT), according to the Turkish presidency.
Pence is accompanied by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is travelling to Jerusalem on Friday to discuss the developments in Syria and also Iran with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.