Turkey: Delivery of second S-400 missile defense system complete

Turkey: Delivery of second S-400 missile defense system complete
A Russian military cargo plane unloads an S-400 missile defense system at the Murted military airbase, northwest of Ankara in this August 27, 2019 photo released by the Turkish Defense Ministry. (Turkish Defense Ministry/AFP)
Updated 15 September 2019

Turkey: Delivery of second S-400 missile defense system complete

Turkey: Delivery of second S-400 missile defense system complete
  • Ankara and Washington have been at loggerheads over Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 systems
  • US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration was considering imposing sanctions related to Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 systems

ANKARA: Turkey’s defense ministry said on Sunday that the delivery of a second battery of Russian S-400 missile defense systems has been completed as of Sunday, and added that the systems would become active in April 2020.
Ankara and Washington have been at loggerheads over Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 systems, which the United States says are not compatible with NATO defenses and poses a threat to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 ‘stealth’ fighter jets.
The initial parts of the system were delivered to Ankara in July despite warnings about possible US sanctions over the purchase. The United States has also expelled Turkey from the F-35 program, but Ankara has so far dismissed the warnings.
In a statement, the defense ministry said the delivery of the second S-400 battery to Ankara was completed. Efforts to mount the systems and train personnel who will use them were continuing, it said, adding that it planned to activate the S-400s in April 2020.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusglu told an interview with CNN Turk on Saturday that the S-400s would be activated despite repeated US warnings.
“They (US officials) told us ‘don’t activate them and we can sort this out’, but we told them that we didn’t buy these systems as a prop,” Cavusoglu said, adding that Turkey would be open to buying US Raytheon Co. Patriot systems as well.
In an interview on Friday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Reuters he will discuss buying US Patriot missiles with US President Donald Trump this month, saying his personal bond with the US leader could overcome the crisis caused by the S-400s.
Though Washington has not yet announced whether it will impose sanction on Ankara, US President Donald Trump has shown sympathy toward Turkey. He has not fully ruled out sanctions.
On Monday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration was considering imposing sanctions related to Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 systems, but no decisions have been made.
The dispute over the S-400 systems is one of several issues straining ties between the United States and Turkey that include the ongoing conflict in Syria, among others.


Lebanon inks final deal for 2.1 mln doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

Lebanon inks final deal for 2.1 mln doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
Updated 17 January 2021

Lebanon inks final deal for 2.1 mln doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

Lebanon inks final deal for 2.1 mln doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
  • The vaccines are expected to arrive in batches starting February
  • The ministry is also cooperating with the private sector to secure 2 million vaccine doses from Astrazenca and Sinopharm

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s caretaker health minister signed a final deal on Sunday to secure 2.1 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine as the country battles a steep rise in infections.
The vaccines are expected to arrive in batches starting February, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry is also cooperating with the private sector to secure 2 million vaccine doses from Astrazenca and Sinopharm, it added.
Lebanon is under a three-week lockdown that ends on Feb. 1 and a strict 24-hour curfew until Jan. 25 after lax measures over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period led to a spike in cases.
In addition to these deals, Lebanon has also signed up for 2.7 million doses to be delivered through COVAX, the global scheme backed by the World Health Organization to provide vaccines to poorer countries.