President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone on Saturday about Covid-19 and its impact on the global economy, as well as about the tenuous situation in Libya and Syria.
The White House said the pair “discussed progress on reopening and boosting global economies in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.”
The Turkish government wants plans to relax a partial lockdown starting in June as new cases ebb. Turkey has the ninth highest number of reported Covid-19 cases in the world, at 155,686, but one of the lowest per-capita death rates. It has recorded 4,308 deaths.
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Erdogan and Trump also agreed to continue close political and military cooperation to ensure peace and stability in the region, said a statement from the Turkish Presidency.
The pair spoke against a backdrop of increasing international concern over the risk of escalation in the conflict in Libya. The chief of Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar’s air force has threatened to target Turkish forces backing the internationally recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s government.
The U.S. leader restated his concern about worsening foreign interference in Libya and the need for de-escalation there as well as the need for a political resolution to conflict in Syria, the White House said. Trump urged unimpeded humanitarian access throughout Syria.
(Updates throughout with White House readout.)
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