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Turkey, US discuss accelerating safe zone establishment

US President Donald Trump (L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attend the opening ceremony at the 2018 NATO Summit at NATO headquarters on July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. Leaders from NATO member and partner states are meeting for a two-day summit, which is being overshadowed by strong demands by U.S. President Trump for most NATO member countries to spend more on defense. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Brussels, Belgium on 11 July 2018 [Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin and the US National Security Advisor Robert C. O'Brien discussed accelerating the establishment of the safe zone in northern Syria over the phone, Anadolu Agency reported.

Kalin and O'Brien touched on several issues including bilateral trade target of $100 billion annually, counter-terrorism and developments in Syria and Libya.

Referring to the northern Syria, top officials highlighted the expectations on accelerating the establishment of safe zone.

Turkey reiterated its call on the US to stop providing aid for PKK/YPG/PYD terror group.

Turkish and US military officials agreed on Aug. 7 to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return to their homeland.

READ: Putin announces end of conflict operations in Syria, calls for political solution

Turkish leaders have said the US is not doing enough to establish the zone, which could house some 2-3 million Syrians who fled the Syrian civil war since 2011.

Turkey currently hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world. Ankara has so far spent $40 billion for the refugees, according to official figures.

Kalin also congratulated O'Brien for his new duty.

US President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he is appointing special envoy for hostage negotiations, Robert C. O'Brien, to replace former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

O'Brien will become Trump's fourth national security advisor after Michael Flynn, H.R. McMaster, and Bolton, who held the post for the longest tenure followed by McMaster.

Trump floated O'Brien's name Tuesday to serve as his new national security advisor.

Asia & AmericasEurope & RussiaMiddle EastNewsSyriaTurkeyUS
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