Turkish FM: States must not backtrack on treaties


    The Turkish foreign minister said Wednesday that states must not backtrack from the treaties they have signed, referring to the recent U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

    "States must stand by the treaties which they have signed," Mevlut Cavusoglu said speaking at a joint news conference with his Lithuanian counterpart Linas Linkevicius in Ankara.

    Cavusoglu said it was incorrect for the U.S. government to backtrack from a treaty which had been signed by a previous government.

    "Then, all international treaties of the past could be ignored suddenly one day," he added.

    Cavusoglu also said Turkey is ready to do its part to find a common ground on the issue.

    On Tuesday, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the landmark nuclear deal, which was signed in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany).

    Acting ahead of a May 12 deadline, Trump opted not to extend sanctions relief on Iran, re-imposing nuclear-related economic penalties on the Islamic republic.

    The 2015 deal had placed unprecedented restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

    Trump had roundly criticized the agreement in 2016 during his electoral campaign, calling it the "worst deal" he had ever seen.

    Other members of the P5+1, for their part, say the agreement in its current form represents the best way to reign in Iran's nuclear program.

    Trump’s move has sparked a range of reactions, with some countries welcoming it and others condemning it.

    Turkish-Lithuanian relations

    Also speaking on bilateral relations, Cavusoglu said Lithuania has always given the strongest support to Turkey in its relations with the EU.

    Cavusoglu said Lithuania always views diverse ethnic cultures as a strength.

    "We want the tolerance in Lithuania to be an example for other European countries," he added.

    Cavusoglu said trade volume between the two countries increased by 50 percent in 2017 in compare with 2016 and reached $800 million.

    "This caused us to increase our targets," he said, adding that they will continue working to increase the trade volume in the coming years.

    Linkevicius said they view Turkey as a very important partner of the EU.

    He said they discussed ways to boost economic relations.

    The two ministers also had a warm discussion on basketball and the forthcoming match of Turkish team Fenerbahce with Lithuanian Zalgiris Kaunas in Euroleague Final Four.


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