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Turkey’s arms deal with Russia casts shadow over NATO summit

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Russian S-400 missile battalions participate in tactical training to counter attacks of potential sabotage and reconnaissance groups. 

Vitaly Nevar | TASS via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Clouding the NATO leaders meeting in London this week is Turkey’s decision to buy and begin testing of a Russian missile system — a move that is believed to pose a risk to the world’s strongest military alliance.

Ankara faces blowback from NATO members as well as U.S. sanctions for completing its messy multi-billion dollar arms deal with the Kremlin.

Yet Turkey’s government has shrugged off the potential sanctions since accepting delivery of the Russian S-400 missile system, and President Donald Trump himself has been sympathetic to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision.

Last month, the two leaders met in Washington with seemingly no breakthrough on the S-400 issue.

Earlier this year, Trump said he could not blame Turkey for buying the S-400, a move that resulted in dropping the NATO ally’s participation in the F-35 program.

“I don’t blame Turkey because there are a lot of circumstances and a lot of … problems that occurred during the Obama administration,” Trump said in July. “This dates back to the Obama administration, which was a disaster.”

Read more: Turkey proceeds with deal for Russian missile system despite US and NATO warnings

Trump then did not elaborate on whether he would impose sanctions on Turkey for doing business with the Kremlin. Under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, which the president signed in August 2017, Turkey could face economic sanctions for buying the Russian-made missile system.

“It’s a tough situation. They’re getting the S-400 and our statues and everything else — as you do that, you just can’t order this equipment,” Trump said. “And generally speaking, you can’t order equipment period.”

In efforts to deter Turkey from buying the S-400, the State Department offered in 2013 and 2017 to sell the country Raytheon’s Patriot missile system. Ankara passed on Patriot both times because the U.S. declined to provide a transfer of the system’s sensitive missile technology. Turkey can still get the Patriot, but only after meeting certain conditions.

“There is room for Turkey to come back to the table. They know that to make this work they need to either destroy, return, or somehow get rid of the S-400. At the same time, we certainly have not closed the door on their ability to acquire the Patriot battery, which does address their air defense needs,” explained a senior State Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The official also said that the timeline for imposing CAATSA sanctions “is not prescribed or absolute.”

“There is still plenty of scope that could be applied as to where sanctions and the breadth and depth of sanctions could be imposed upon Turkey,” the official added.

A Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system.

Sergei Malgavko | TASS via Getty Images

What’s more, Moscow hopes to secure another deal with Ankara for more S-400 missile systems in the first half of next year, Alexander Mikheev, the head of Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport said last month.

“Russia is using Turkey itself as a political missile aimed at the heart of NATO solidarity. The whole episode has become an embarrassment,” explained Thomas Karako, director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Despite tough talk about CAATSA sanctions for buying S-400, they still haven’t been imposed, five months after delivery. Allies and adversaries alike are drawing their own conclusions about the relationship between what the White House says it will do, and what it does,” he added.

And while the Trump administration has yet to impose sanctions on Turkey, the State Department has reiterated why allies should not buy arms from countries like Russia and China.

“We certainly want to make sure that all of our partners understand what risks they may incur if they look elsewhere, particularly to near-peer adversaries that may be offering something that is of a subpar nature or may expose them to risk to exploitation or theft of their defense technology,” said Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary for political and military affairs at the Department of State.

“We don’t want to put to risk our defense technology, and we don’t want our partners put at risk either,” Cooper added.

Turkey’s messy weapons deal with the Kremlin

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin last April. 

Adem Altan | AFP | Getty Images

In 2017, Ankara brokered a deal reportedly worth $2.5 billion with the Kremlin for the S-400 despite warnings from the U.S. that buying the system would come with political and economic consequences.

The S-400, the successor to the S-200 and S-300 missile systems, made its debut in 2007. Compared with U.S. systems, the Russian-made S-400 is believed to be capable of engaging a wider array of targets, at longer ranges and against multiple threats simultaneously.

All the while, Turkey became a financial and manufacturing partner in Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet, the world’s most advanced fighter.

As Ankara’s inevitable acceptance of the S-400 came to fruition, the Pentagon announced it would begin “unwinding” Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program.

In October, the Pentagon’s acquisition chief reiterated Turkey’s removal from the colossal weapons program.

“There has been no change to return Turkey to the F-35 program. The S-400 air defense system, which is incompatible with the F-35, remains in Turkey,” Ellen Lord, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters at the Pentagon.

“As I’ve said previously, Turkey makes nearly 1,000 parts for the F-35 and will continue to do so until Turkey’s F-35 supply chain responsibilities transfer at the end of March in 2020,” she added.

After his country was forced out of the multinational weapons program, Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and attended an annual Russian air show in Moscow. After the August visit, Erdogan expressed interest in buying the Kremlin’s Su-35 fighter jets.



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House Democrats: Trump Abuse of Power Impeachable Offense

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Congressional Democrats launched the next step in the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump Wednesday, hearing testimony from legal scholars on what the U.S. Constitution says about the standards for impeaching and removing a president from office. The House Judiciary Committee hearings take lawmakers a step closer to a vote on Articles of Impeachment, measures that if passed would lead to a Senate trial. VOA’s congressional correspondent Katherine Gypson has more from Capitol Hill.
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Saudi Arabia denies pushing OPEC allies for deeper cuts, source says

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OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo (L) and Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman (R) attend an Opec-JMMC meeting in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on September 12, 2019.

KARIM SAHIB | AFP | Getty Images

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia has denied pursuing a deeper round of production cuts, one senior oil official told CNBC on Thursday, despite intense speculation the global oil-producing group was on the cusp of imposing further output curbs.

The oil-rich kingdom was widely considered to be pushing for other OPEC members to sign up for at least an additional 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production cuts. But, one anonymous Saudi oil official told CNBC on the sidelines of a meeting in Vienna, Austria that this was not the case — and Riyadh had not proposed any figures.

OPEC and non-OPEC allies — sometimes referred to as OPEC+ — have gathered in Vienna this week to discuss the next phase of their oil production policy. The 14-member group will hold talks on Thursday, before meeting with non-OPEC allies, including Russia, on Friday.

The energy alliance has reduced output by 1.2 million bpd since the beginning of the year. The current deal, which runs through to March 2020, replaced a previous round of production cuts that began in January 2017.

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $63.53 on Thursday afternoon, up more than 0.8%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) stood at $58.76, approximately 0.5% higher.

Oil prices have rallied in recent trading sessions, boosted by growing speculation about the potential for deeper production cuts.

However, Brent crude futures remain around 15% lower when compared to an April peak, with WTI down 12% over the same period.

— CNBC’s Dan Murphy, Hadley Gamble and Emma Graham contributed to this report.



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Political and General News Events from Dec. 5

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Dec 5 (Reuters) –

For other diaries, please see:

Political and General News

Top Economic Events

Emerging Markets Economic Events

Government Debt Auctions

U.S. Federal Reserve

Today in Washington

—————————————————————- This Diary is filed daily. ** Indicates new events —————————————————————- THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5 ** SLOVAKIA – Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, meets with his counterparts from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe at their annual meeting in Bratislava.

** BRUSSELS – EU Council President Charles Michel meets with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, ECB President Christine Lagarde and Eurogroup President Mario Centeno – 0715 GMT

** LISBON – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds a press conference with Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santo Silva and Defence Minister Joao Gomes Cravinho, after a private meeting to discuss bilateral relations and multilateral themes such as NATO and the situation in Venezuela. – 1040 GMT

** LISBON – Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, meets with Portugal’s Prime Minister, Antonio Costa. – 1500 GMT

** ACCRA – South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, is in Ghana for a two-day working visit(final day)

** TOKYO – Prime Minister of Hungary Orban Viktor visits Japan (to Dec. 7)

** LONDON – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda meets with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, during the NATO Summit hosted in London on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the alliance.

WASHINGTON, D.C – Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok visits United States (final day). BEIJING – El Salvador’s President Nayib Armando Bukele Ortez will pay a state visit to China (to Dec. 6) DELHI – King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia will pay a six-day state visit to India (to Dec. 6)

MADRID – World leaders meet in Madrid for the 2019 UN climate change conference (COP25) (to Dec. 13).

LONDON/RABAT/LISBON – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to the UK, Morocco and Portugal (to Dec. 6)

MOSCOW – Mongolia Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh will visit Russia (to Dec. 6).

SEOUL – Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi visits South Korea (final day).

BENTO GONZALVES, Brazil – The presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay meet in Bento Gonzalves in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul for their semiannual Mercosur summit (final day).

ATHENS – EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson and EU Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas will visit Athens.

BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev with military honors in Berlin – 1100 GMT

ROME – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Italy (to Dec. 7).

New Delhi – OECD Economic Surveys: India 2019

UTTARAKHAND, India – King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia will visit Uttarakhand (to Dec. 6) BRUSSELS – EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting.

BRATISLAVA – OSCE holds Council of Ministers meeting in Bratislava (to Dec. 6).

VIENNA – 177th Meeting of the OPEC Conference.

– – – – – – – – –

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6 ** BALI, Indonesia – Australian and Indonesian foreign and defense ministers hold working meetings in the resort island of Bali.

ADDIS ABABA – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visits Ethiopia. ROME – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and hold joint news conference – 1130 GMT

MOSCOW – Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev meets Belarusian Prime Minister Siarhiej Rumas.

LISBON – The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa and Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva during a visit in Lisbon to discuss the U.S.-Portuguese cooperation.

DOMINICA – Dominican House of Assembly Election.

VIENNA – 7th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting. BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Foreign ministers of members of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe meet for their annual Council of Ministers meeting in Bratislava (to Nov. 6). – – – – – – – – –

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7 ** NAYPYITAW – China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits Myanmar (to Dec. 8) – – – – – – – – –

MONDAY, DECEMBER 9

BRUSSELS – EU-Kyrgyzstan Cooperation Council meeting.

Oslo – OECD Economic Surveys: Norway 2019

PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron hosts the Normandy summit, where he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to discuss steps to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

BRUSSELS – EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting. – – – – – – – – –

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10

BRUSSELS – EU-Tajikistan Cooperation Council meeting.

BRUSSELS – EU General Affairs Council meeting. – – – – – – – – –

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12 ALGERIA – President’s election.

BRUSSELS – European Union leaders gather in Brussels for a summit (to Nov. 13). – – – – – – – – – TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17

TOKYO – Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev visits Japan (to Dec 20).

– – – – – – – – –

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia – Russian President Vladimir Putin holds talks with Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev.

– – – – – – – – –

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22 UZBEKISTAN – Uzbekistani Legislative Chamber election. – – – – – – – – –

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1

TALLINN – 9th anniversary of adoption of the euro by Estonia. – – – – – – – – –

THURSDAY, JANUARY 2

PALM SPRINGS, Ca – 31st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (to Jan. 13). – – – – – – – – –

SATURDAY, JANUARY 4

BURMA – 72nd anniversary of Burma’s independence. – – – – – – – – – MONDAY, JANUARY 6

LONDON – Costa Book Category Awards Winners to be announced. – – – – – – – – –

TUESDAY, JANUARY 7

WASHINGTON DC, United States – U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the White House.

PHNOM PENH – The ruling Cambodian People’s Party celebrates the 41st anniversary of the victory over the Khmer Rouge regime. – – – – – – – – –

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Russian President Vladimir Putin holds talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.

– – – – – – – – – Friday, JANUARY 10

BRUSSELS – European Motor Show Brussels 2020 (to Jan. 19).

– – – – – – – – –

SATURDAY, January 11

WASHINGTON/MOSCOW – 9th Anniversary of U.S.-Russia civilian nuclear cooperation agreement.

TAIWAN – Taiwanese Legislative Yuan election.

TAIWAN – Referendum election. – – – – – – – – – Sunday, JANUARY 12

HAITI – 10th anniversary of Haiti’s magnitude 7 earthquake that destroyed much of the Haitian capital. – – – – – – – – –

MONDAY, JANUARY 13

ABU DHABI – International Water Summit 2020 (to Jan. 16).

ABU DHABI – World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2020 (to Jan. 16). – – – – – – – – –

TUESDAY, JANUARY 14

TUNISIA – 9th Anniversary of ousting of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. – – – – – – – – –

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 15

MOSCOW – The Gaidar Forum 2020 (to Jan. 16). – – – – – – – – –

FRIDAY, JANUARY 17

Paris – OECD ministerial meeting on migration. – – – – – – – – –

TUESDAY, January 21

DAVOS, Switzerland – 2020 World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. (to Jan. 24) – – – – – – – – –

SATURDAY, JANUARY 25

EGYPT – 9th Anniversary of beginning of Egyptian revolution, which marked a series of mass popular protests leading to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. – – – – – – – – –

FRIDAY, JANUARY 28

TUESDAY – Costa Book of the Year will be announced.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – NOTE: The inclusion of diary items does not necessarily mean that Reuters will file a story based on the event.

For Technical Issues Please contact Thomson Reuters Customer Support (TRCS) at https://customers.reuters.com/kccontactus/telephone.aspx



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