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Pakistan, Turkey agree to expedite joint projects

ANKARA: President Asif Ali Zardari stressed for translating the excellent political relations between the two countries into a strong and long term economic bond to the mutual benefit of the people of the two countries.

He said this during his separate bilateral meetings with Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the 7th Trilateral Summit of Afghanistan-Pakistan and Turkey at Ankara Wednesday.

President Zardari held wide-ranging discussions with the Turkish leadership on bilateral, regional and international issues, peace process in Afghanistan and the situation in Middle East.

Discussing bilateral relations, the President stressed the need for early finalization of Pakistan -Turkey Preferential Trade Agreement, which he said would help boost trade ties and achieving the mutually agreed trade target of $ 2 billion.

He termed the recent suggestion from the Turkish side to include mutual concessions within the ambit of the PTA as a forward step and expressed hope that the next round of PTA discussions would be held soon after the exchange of revised request list covering major textile products being affected by the Turkish safeguard duties and extra tariffs.

The President invited Turkish investment and joint ventures in key sectors such in Pakistan.

President Zardari expressed hope that the “Gül train” project would revolutionize cargo and transit facilities between the two countries and urged for early finalization of border crossing formalities.

The President thanked Turkish Prime Minister for his participation in the D-8 Summit held last month in Islamabad. The summit, he said would go a long way in confronting common challenges faced by the D-8 community.

President Zardari said that peace and stability in Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan and termed the recent visit of High Peace Council (HPC) Chairman Salahudin Rabbani, a welcome development, which he said would help in achieving the shared objectives of peace and stability in the region.

Referring to the Regional Ministerial Conference on Counter-Narcotics in Pakistan last month, the President appreciated Turkey’s participation in the conference and expressed hope that the conference would help in breaking the nexus between narco-trade and terrorism.

On Pak-Turkey defense ties, they expressed satisfaction on the excellent cooperative relations in the defense field.

President Zardari said that Pakistan desires to further strengthen defence ties and urged the need to focus on joint defence production and allied research and development.

Discussing situation in Middle East, the President said that Syrian situation has serious implication for the regional peace and security and reiterated that Pakistan appreciates the democratic transformations in the Middle East and the broader Islamic World.

On situation in Palestine, President Zardari said that Pakistan condemns the recent air assault on Gaza strip by Israeli forces. He assured that Pakistan would continue to support all efforts aimed at resolving the Palestinian dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

The President thanked Turkish leadership for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to him and his delegation.

President Gul while expressing satisfaction on the current state of bilateral ties between Turkey and Pakistan said that the two brotherly countries enjoy excellent relationship. He urged for early implementation of bilateral agreements and joint projects between the two countries to further deepen bilateral trade and economic ties in all fields.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that time tested friendship between the two countries would grow further and urged for close bilateral cooperation at various levels. He appreciated the huge sacrifices made by Pakistan in the fight against militancy and terrorism and assured full support and cooperation from Turkey in all spheres including help to Pakistan in its efforts in the war against terror.

From Pakistan side, those who were present during the meeting included Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Foreign Minister, Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani, Foreign Secretary and Ambassador Muhammad Haroon Shaukat.

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