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Biden apologises to Turkey, UAE and Saudi Arabia after accusing them of supporting extremism

October 9, 2014 at 1:31 pm

US Vice-President Joe Biden apologised on Tuesday to Saudi Arabia, after already making apologies to Turkey and the UAE, for saying that they have supported terrorism in the Middle East.

After apologising over the weekend to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as well as to the UAE, over his remarks made at Harvard University last week, Biden spoke with a senior Saudi official to apologise and clarify what he meant by his remarks.

According to the New York Times, Biden’s “troubles began [last] Thursday when he declared, in a question-and-answer session at the John F. Kennedy School of Government [at Harvard], that the biggest problem the United States faced in dealing with Syria and the rise of the Islamic State was America’s allies in the region.”

The newspaper also quoted Biden as saying that Turkey “has admitted allowing foreign fighters to cross into Syria, while Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia funnelled weapons and other aid to Syrian rebels that ended up in the hands of the Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups.”

Responding to Biden, the New York Times quoted Erdogan as saying that: “If Biden has said such a thing at Harvard, he needs to apologise.”

Erdogan also denied that extremists had crossed into Syria from Turkey. “Foreign fighters never crossed into Syria from our country,” he reportedly said. “They would cross into Syria from Turkey on tourist passports, but nobody can claim that they have crossed with arms.”