World U.S. rules out dispute over Greece’s sovereignty over Aegean islands
Turkey files protest with Greece, US in islands row
Ankara on Monday summoned the Greek ambassador and protested to Washington after accusing Greece of deploying US armoured vehicles on two Aegean islands near the Turkish coast. The latest escalation started when Turkish security sources shared aerial images over the weekend purportedly showing ships loaded with US armoured vehicles docking at two Greek islands, Lesbos and Samos. The Turkish foreign ministry told the Greek envoy that Athens should "stop violations" and respect the non-military status the islands were assigned by international law, the Anadolu state news agency reported.
U.S. officials have ruled out that Greece's sovereignty over the Aegean islands is in dispute in the wake of the latest escalation of tension with Turkey, which accuses Athens of deploying U.S. armored vehicles next to Lesvos and Samos.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that "at a time when Russia has decided to invade a sovereign European state, such accusations could provoke an increase in tension between NATO allies", which he called "unhelpful".
Thus, he has urged NATO countries to "work together to maintain peace and security in the region and resolve disputes through diplomacy," as indicated in a statement. "The sovereignty and integrity of all countries must be respected and protected," he said.
In this regard, he has stressed that despite the threats of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, "Greek sovereignty over the islands is not in question." "We call on the parties involved to avoid any action or rhetoric that would lead to a worsening of the situation," he added.
On the possible belonging of the islands to Turkey, Pence has avoided taking a position and has insisted that the world "must focus on the existing collective threat, that of Russian aggression."
‘We have let this drift’: US says further work to do after signing Pacific Islands partnership .
The United States concedes it let its relationship with Pacific Island nations "drift" before reaching a historic new partnership agreement with the region. US President Joe Biden hosted a dozen Pacific Island leaders in Washington amid increasing US concern about China's growing influence.The US secured the support of all of those attending for a joint declaration, setting out 11 areas of cooperation, despite Solomon Islands signalling in the lead up to the event that it would not agree.