EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Friday failed to persuade France to allow a hoped-for start to accession talks for North Macedonia and Albania - and also failed to agree on a written conclusion, which, in the absence of a date for EU talks, would have sent a positive message to Skopje and Tirana about their further engagement in the process.
Talks in Brussels continued on Friday on the European Union accession prospects of North Macedonia and Albania after tense talks ended in a deadlock the previous night on objections from France, The Netherlands and Denmark, who strenuously oppos the position of the other 25 member-states to commence negotiations with the two Balkan nations.
In a major blow to the hopes of the two Balkan countries, the European Council - preoccupied with Brexit - on Thursday failed to give Albania and North Macedonia a date to start EU membership talks.
In a last-ditch effort to reach an agreement on the matter, amid fading hope, the Council moved the issue of enlargement to Friday's last session of the council.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised the US decision to withdraw from Syria. He noted that there was a discrepancy between the positions expressed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and those of some Member States regarding Ankara's actions.
Erdogan told reporters that Turkey was ready to implement its decision regarding Manbij.