Vice President Mike Pence spoke just moments after President Trump tweeted “Great news out of Turkey. News Conference shortly with @VP and @SecPompeo. Thank you to @RTErdogan. Millions of lives will be saved!” The Vice President began the news conference referencing President Trump took decisive action to end violence immediately after Turkish forces crossed into Syria just one week ago.
Pence stated from Ankara, Turkey: “Today I’m proud to report thanks to strong leadership of President Trump and the strong relationship between Erdogan and United States that today the United States and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in Syria.”
He continued, “Turkey will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours.” Additionally, all military operations under Operation Peace Spring will be phased out and Pperation Peace Spring will be halted entirely after complete withdrawal.”
As for actions already taking place, Pence added, “we have begun to facilitate their safe withdrawal from the safe zone south of the Turkish border in Syria.” In the agreement, “the United States and Turkey have both mutually committed to a peaceful resolution” and to create a buffer zone, “working on an international basis to ensure that peace and security defines this border region of Syria.”
Pence then addressed ISIS: “In addition, Turkey and the United States mutually committed to the defeat of ISIS” which will include coordinating “efforts on detention facilities and displaced citizens.” Pence said there was a fundamental agreement on the priority of protecting human rights and particularly religious and ethnic communities in the region.
The Vice President said he “spoke to Trump moments ago. The President is very grateful for Erdogan’s willingness to step forward and enact the ceasefire.” Pence ended that he is grateful “for the President’s leadership” and “for the more than 5 hours of negotiation with Erdogan and his team that lead to what we believe will save lives.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke just briefly after Pence. Pompeo said Vice President Pence covered everything, he just wanted to add that “there remains a great deal of work to do in the region.” But with optimism added, “this effort sets conditions for successful resolutions” and “Erdogans decision will be one that benefits Turkey a great deal.”
A question and answer session with the press then followed, and most notably Vice President Pence noted that he was sent to Turkey by President Trump to reach a ceasefire agreement. Otherwise, more sanctions would be thrown at Turkey. Pence reiterated that Trump will continue to be involved diplomatically but without troops on the ground.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2019