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305 words - May 18, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian at the Pentagon. "We will spend a considerable amount of time talking about different mutual interests in NATO and certainly what we're doing together in a number of areas," the Secretary said ahead of the meeting.
Mr. Hagel praised the "decisive action" of France in Mali and the "extensive cooperation" between France and the United States in the Sahel region. The US Department of Defense (DOD) has been providing aerial refueling in support of French operation "Serval" and will continue to do, Mr. Hagel said. The two officials also discussed the recent release of the 2013 French White Paper on Defense and National Security. Secretary Hagel welcomed the fact that it underlined France's commitment to NATO and increased European security cooperation.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Hagel and the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey, hosted Turkish Minister of Defense Ismet Yilmaz and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu for about an hour and a half. "We talked about many - certainly the regional issues and followed up on a number of points that were made in the meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister and President Barack Obama on May 16," said Hagel who attended the meeting at the White House along with Vice-President Joseph Biden and US Secretary of State John Kerry.
At the Pentagon, the two delegations discussed "continued opportunities for military-to-military partnership and assessed the "ongoing NATO deployment of Patriot missiles to southern Turkey." Of course, the officials spoke extensively about the crisis Syria and its growing consequences on the region. "They reaffirmed their efforts to work with allies and partners to support an inclusive transition that guarantees the Syrian people universal rights," a DOD readout said.
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