WASHINGTON, Oct 17 (KUNA) -- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that he had a "good, constructive conversation" with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying "the fact that Pastor Brunson has now made his way back to the United States I think opens up lots of opportunities."
Pompeo told the traveling press that they discussed "Iran, how we have Iran sanctions taking place November 4th," noting "we are working with the Turks to make sure that we get to the right place," as "they buy Iranian crude oil; we'd like them to buy less."
He added "we talked about the work that we're doing together in Syria," noting that Erdogan "is fully engaged in ensuring that Idlib Province remain inside the agreement that he struck, and we are hopeful that that will remain the case as well."
Asked if the Brunson-related sanctions will be lifted, Pompeo stressed that "we'll have a decision on that shortly."
He reiterated some of the sanctions that were put in place "were directly connected to Pastor Brunson, and there's a logic to now removing those as well. But no final decision has been made."
The Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on Turkish interior and justice ministers, in addition to doubling the tariffs on the aluminum and steel imports from Turkey to 20 percent and 50 percent respectively.
Last month, the White House had said that the tariffs that are in place on steel "would not be removed with the release of Pastor Brunson," and that the tariffs "are specific to national security."
It noted the sanctions, however, that have been placed on Turkey "are specific to Pastor Brunson and others that we feel are being held unfairly, and we would consider that at that point." (end)