Obama urges Turkey to reduce tensions with Russia

U.S. President Barack Obama urged Turkey on Tuesday to reduce tensions with Moscow after the downing of a Russian warplane and to seal its border with Syria to choke off the supply of money and fighters to Islamic State militants.

He also raised the specter of Afghanistan in warning Russia against getting bogged down in its military campaign to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

But hopes of the de-escalation called for by Obama suffered a setback when Russia officially announced a list of sanctions to be imposed on Turkey and sources said Moscow may also freeze work on a major gas pipeline project.

Obama met Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Paris, where they have been attending a climate summit, a week after Turkish jets shot down a Russian warplane along the Syrian border.

Obama stressed that U.S. support for its NATO ally's security remained steadfast.

"The United States supports Turkey's right to defend itself and its airspace and its territory," Obama said. "We discussed how Turkey and Russia can work together to de-escalate tensions and find a diplomatic path to resolve this issue." READ MORE OF THIS STORY ON REUTERS NEWS ONLINE

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