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US did not give 'green light' to Turkey's Syria incursion: Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers a speech at Siam Society in Bangkok, Thailand. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Washington, USA Oct 10, 2019, 01.29 PM (IST)

The United States has not given Turkey a green light to invade Syria, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, but added that Ankara had "legitimate security concerns" and that President Donald Trump made a decision to move American soldiers out of harm's way.

"That's just false. The United States didn't give Turkey a green light. We'll continue to be in a position to do what we need to do to keep the American people as safe as we possibly can from this threat. But it is not only in Syria. It emanates from Iraq,'' Pompeo said.

''There are a dozen other countries where the threat from radical Islamic terrorism continues to exist, and we the United States, has to make sure we position our forces our resources, appropriately to reduce that threat to the United States," Pompeo added.

Speaking to broadcaster PBS Pompeo said that China's treatment of Muslims, including the Uighurs, in western China was an "enormous human rights violation" and Washington will continue to raise the issue.

"This is not only an enormous human rights violation, but we don't think it's in the best interests of the world or of China to engage in this kind of behaviour," Pompeo told PBS.

Shocking video shows hundreds of blindfolded and bound Uighur Muslims

Asked whether Chinese President Xi Jinping was responsible, Pompeo said: "Xi Jinping leads the country just like the leader of a tank platoon, a small business or a country is responsible for the things that happen in your name."

Pompeo also said it was "wholly appropriate" for President Donald Trump to ask Ukraine's leader to investigate corruption in his country.

"I found that to be wholly appropriate to try to get another country to stop being corrupt," Pompeo said in an interview on PBS's "NewsHour" program.

Pompeo has said he listened to the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump asked Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

The call has sparked a US House of Representatives' impeachment probe of Trump.

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'There are a dozen other countries where the threat from radical Islamic terrorism continues to exist, and we the US, have to make sure we position our forces our resources, appropriately to reduce that threat to the US,' Pompeo said.