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Obama meets with Turkish PM, denounces blast

(Xinhua)

09:08, September 21, 2011

NEW YORK, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama offered his "deep condolences" Tuesday over a bomb blast in Ankara when he met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Obama extended his "deep condolences for the loss of life in the explosion in Ankara," saying "This reminds us that terrorism exists in many parts of the world, and Turkey and the United States are going to be strong partners in preventing terrorism."

The blast in the Turkish capital killed three people, injuring 34 others with three in serious conditions.

Obama called Turkey "a NATO ally and a great friend and partner on NATO issues." He thanked Erdogan for "all the work in Afghanistan."

As a NATO member, Turkey has agreed to host an early warning radar as part of NATO's missile defense shield against long-range and inter-continental ballistic missiles.

Erdogan, who looked rather grim, called Turkey-U.S. relationship "a model partnership."

Both leaders ignored a shouted question about the Palestinians' statehood issue, on which their countries differ, with Turkey backing the Palestinians.

The U.S. opposes the Palestinians' plan to seek their statehood at the UN Security Council, calling it "unilateral and counterproductive." It has been calling for a two-state solution through negotiations.

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