U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday put pressure on Turkey to free a detained American pastor whose case caused the Trump administration to introduce sanctions on senior Turkish officials, and said North Korea is still lagging behind on its promise to denuclearize, Fox News informed.
Pompeo made the comments before attending separate meetings with top Turkish and North Korean officials on the sidelines of a Southeast Asian security conference in Singapore.
He called on the Turkish government to free Andrew Craig Brunson, the American pastor arrested in Turkey since December 2016 on espionage and terror-related charges, which both Brunson and the U.S. vehemently deny.
The administration is also seeking the release of several detained local employees of the U.S. diplomatic missions in the Turkey.
Pompeo said the administration’s actions on Wednesday – introducing sanctions on Turkey’s justice and interior ministers – were a sign of how seriously the U.S. is treating Brunson’s case.
“The Turks were on notice that the clock had run out and it was time for Pastor Brunson to be returned and I hope they’ll see this for what it is: a demonstration that we’re very serious,” he told reporters.
“We consider this one of the many issues that we have with the Turks,” Pompeo continued, but didn’t elaborate.
In terms of North Korea, Pompeo criticized the communist state for lagging behind on plans to honor the agreements made in Singapore during a summit in June between Kim Jong Un and President Trump.
The top diplomat said there was “still a ways to go before” achieving the goal of ridding the North of its nuclear weapons. As of now, the country is still in violation of numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions, Pompeo said.
“Chairman Kim made a commitment to denuclearize,” Pompeo told reporters. “The world demanded that [he] do so in the U.N. Security Council resolutions. To the extent they are behaving in a manner inconsistent with that, they are in violation of one or both the U.N. Security Council resolutions, we can see we still have a ways to go to achieve the ultimate outcome we’re looking for.”