Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Joe Biden | Joe Biden | apology | ISIS | UAE | Turkey

Biden Forced to Apologize to UAE, Turkey

By    |   Monday, 06 Oct 2014 09:13 AM

Vice President Joe Biden was forced to personally apologize to the United Arab Emirates and Turkey for publicly suggesting that they were responsible for bolstering al-Qaida in Syria.

During a speech Thursday at Harvard University, Biden had told the audience that Turkey, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates had given "billions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons" to extremist groups fighting against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, inadvertently strengthening the Islamic State (ISIS), CNN reported.

"We could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them," he said.

The UAE foreign affairs ministry demanded an official explanation for the remarks prompting Biden on Sunday to apologize to Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, for "any implications" he made that the country had supported extremist groups, NBC News reported.

He also thanked the country for its role in fighting ISIS and terrorism in the region.

"The Vice President made clear that the United States greatly values the commitments and sacrifices made by our allies and partners from around the world to combat the scourge of ISIL," said Biden spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff, according to CNN.

In his speech, Biden also angered Turkish President Tyyip Erdogan after recounting a private conversation the two allegedly had.

"President Erdogan told me, he's an old friend, said, 'You were right. We let too many people [including foreign fighters] through.' Now they are trying to seal their border," Biden said.

Erdogan responded with anger and denied ever making the comments. "Biden has to apologize for his statements." Otherwise, he said, Biden will be "history to me," CNN reported.

Biden called Erdogan Saturday to apologize for "any implication that Turkey or other allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL or other violent extremists in Syria," The New York Times reported.

Turkey has been working in recent months to increase intelligence sharing after being criticized internationally about lax border controls. Though the country has joined the coalition to fight ISIS, it had refused to sign a communiqué in September calling for military action because the militant group was holding 46 Turkish citizens hostage.

Erdogan stressed on Saturday the country's commitment to setting up a buffer and no-fly zone in Syria to prevent the possible influx of refugees. While he stopped short of commitment Turkey to military action, he said he supported the U.S.-led effort to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels, the Times reported.

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Vice President Joe Biden was forced to personally apologize to the United Arab Emirates and Turkey for publicly suggesting that they were responsible for bolstering al-Qaida in Syria.
Joe Biden, apology, ISIS, UAE, Turkey
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2014-13-06
Monday, 06 Oct 2014 09:13 AM
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