Washington has made no formal request from Ankara to allow two U.S. hospital ships to sail through the Turkish Straits to Georgia, a U.S. diplomat said Saturday, following reports that Turkey was dragging its feet on making a decision.
"But as far as I know, we have not made a formal decision about sending those two ships," she said, adding that "a formal request" for their passage to the Black Sea via the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits was not made either.
The Turkish foreign ministry said
Without a reference to the
Turkey's NTV news channel reported that the two ships tonnage exceeded the limits set by the convention.
General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday that
Unnamed U.S. officials told McClatchy Newspapers that the two hospital ships likely to go -- the Comfort and the Mercy -- would take weeks to arrive and complained that Turkey was "sluggish and unresponsive" in granting them a permission to sail through the straits to the Black Sea.