Erdogan says Russian defense missiles on track


OSAKA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he expects the scheduled delivery of Russian air defense missiles under a contract that has vexed the United States.

Erdogan said Saturday at the start of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, that the deal is a priority and the delivery of the S-400 air defense systems should start without delay.

The U.S. has strongly urged NATO member Turkey to pull back from the deal, but Ankara has refused to budge and the first shipments are expected next month. It would mark the first such deal between Russia and a NATO member.

Putin hailed growing bilateral trade and a rising flow of Russian tourists to Turkey.

Russia and Turkey have closely coordinated their actions in Syria, signing a de-escalation deal for the northwestern province of Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold.

That deal has recently been tested by increased fighting, raising the prospect of a government offensive and a major humanitarian crisis.

President Donald Trump has sat down for talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Osaka.

The two leaders spoke of good intentions as the meeting began Saturday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Japan.

Their discussions are expected to focus at least in part on the bitter dispute over technology and trade that has triggered a tariffs war between the two largest economies.

Xi started his comments with a reference to “ping-pong diplomacy” that launched the U.S. normalization of relations with Beijing nearly 50 years ago.

He noted that “cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation.” He added that, “Today I’m prepared to exchange views with you concerning the growth of U.S.-China relations so as to set the direction for our relationship.”

Group of 20 leaders have joined their host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in showcasing support for helping women close the gap with men in finance and other forms of economic empowerment.

Ivanka Trump, adviser to President Donald Trump, said Saturday that the world economy would get a boost of up to $28 trillion by 2025 if women were on an equal economic footing. She was speaking at a special session on the issue at the G-20 summit in Osaka that included her father. She described improving the status of women as “smart economic and defense policy.”

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, the U.N. secretary-general’s special advocate for inclusive finance for development, says “it is really necessary to close this gap for women to be economically empowered.”