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Ben Hodges, lamented "can Germany spend more?" Turkey is also looking into a French-Italian system based on the SAMP-T missile systems.

On Wednesday, Pence also criticized Germany, saying the ally's level of defense spending and work with Russian Federation on a gas pipeline were "simply unacceptable".

The U.S.is also unhappy with Germany's cooperation with Russian Federation on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that will double the capacity of the current route.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay responded on Twitter to Pence's ultimatum: "The United States must choose".

"Certain Russian weapon systems are seen as inherently threatening to the United States regardless of who is operating them and for what goal", Andrew Hunter, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said. Trump tweeted last December that the United States was withdrawing all of its troops from Syria, but since then he has gradually dialed back that declaration and committed to keeping a residual force in the country.

Pompeo on Thursday said he was confident the USA will be able to "find a path forward" with Turkey over its S-400 plans.

Turkey also intends to install Russia's advanced S-400 missile air defense system.

The foreign ministers held a series of sessions on the first day of the meeting at the headquarters of the U.S. State Department focusing on Russian Federation and the Black Sea region where Moscow seized three Ukrainian ships past year.

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"Together with our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners, we created the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force to prepare combat-ready battlegroups to be able to move into the Baltics and Poland within days", Pence added.

But on Tuesday the acting USA defense secretary, Pat Shanahan, predicted confidently that Turkey would reverse its decision to purchase an advanced Russian missile defense system.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, in a first public appearance after Sunday elections in Istanbul, Thursday, April 4, 2019, listens as he visits an uncompleted museum dedicated to the July 15, 2015 coup attempt.

He said that Cavusoglu's protest "comes across as a bit disingenuous", particularly in light of the Turkish threats.

"Turkey must choose. Does it want to remain a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in history or does it want to risk the security of that partnership by making such reckless decisions that undermine our alliance?"

"We didn't make this pledge to please the United States". "NATO is stronger today because of the resolute American leadership of President Donald Trump, and our Transatlantic Alliance has made remarkable progress for our collective security".

Despite the United States suspension, Erdogan said three F-35 jets had been delivered, though they remain in the US.

"Should Turkey procure the S-400", acting chief Pentagon spokesperson Charles Summers says in his announcement suspending deliveries to stand-up the program in Turkey, "their continued participation in the F-35 program is at risk".


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