The Turkish and US presidents in a meeting on the sidelines of the two-day G20 leaders’ summit in Italy agreed on the formation of a joint mechanism to strengthen and improve the bilateral ties, according to a statement by Turkey’s Communications Directorate on Sunday.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Joe Biden during the closed-door meeting — which lasted over an hour, much longer than initially scheduled — discussed the steps to be taken in line with the common perspective to expand the bilateral trade volume, the statement said.

The leaders stressed the importance of the NATO alliance and the strategic partnership, and also expressed satisfaction about mutual steps taken on climate change, it added.

“President Biden underscored his desire to maintain constructive relations, expand areas of cooperation, and manage our disagreements effectively,” a White House statement said.

Biden expressed appreciation for Turkey’s nearly two decades of contributions to the NATO mission in Afghanistan, the statement read.

“President Biden reaffirmed our defense partnership and Turkey’s importance as a NATO Ally, but noted U.S. concerns over Turkey’s possession of the Russian S-400 missile system,” it added.

The two leaders also discussed the political process in Syria, the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Afghans in need, elections in Libya, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, and diplomatic efforts in the South Caucasus, noted the statement.

Erdogan and Biden are also expected to attend the world leaders’ summit at the start of the UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, which starts on Sunday in the Scottish city of Glasgow.

Erdogan last met Biden during a NATO summit in Brussels in June.

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