March 21, 2019 / 3:46 PM / a month ago

Top U.S. general says S-400 dispute with Turkey 'a tough issue'

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford attends a meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States’ top military officer said on Thursday he was hopeful that Washington would find a way to resolve a dispute with Turkey over its decision to acquire Russia’s S-400 air defense system but cautioned: “It is a tough issue.”

General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked about a Reuters report suggesting the Pentagon could soon pause preparations to deliver advanced F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.

He responded, “Both the executive branch of our government and legislative branch of our government are going to have a hard time reconciling the presence of the S-400 and the most advanced fighter aircraft that we have, the F-35.”

“We’re hopeful that we can find a way through this, but it is a tough issue,” the Marine general told a security forum in Washington.

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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