President holds meetings with President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan
Islamabad, December 12, 2012 (PPI-OT): Pakistan and Turkey Tuesday agreed on early implementation of the joint projects, encouraging private sector of the two countries and creating facilitative trade mechanisms and opportunities for the businessmen to fully utilize the true trade potential and further deepen bilateral commercial and investment ties.
A press release received here from Ankara says 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.
President Zardari 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 today.
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, President Zardari 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 as infrastructure, housing, engineering, energy, agriculture, telecommunications and mining and said that it was encouraging that private sectors of the two countries are collaborating in the energy, construction, food processing and rubber industries. He also welcomed Turkish investment in hydro-power generation and alternate energy.
The President 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, harmonizing customs procedures and generating cargo by larger involvement of the private sector. The President said that Pakistan was keenly interested in the project and thanked Turkish Prime Minister and President Gul for their personal interest in Gul Train project.
The President thanked Turkish Prime Minister for his participation in the D-8 Summit held last month in Islamabad and expressed confidence that summit with its distinct trade promotion focus would further energize economic and commercial ties within the D-8 family.
The summit, he said would go a long way in confronting common challenges faced by the D-8 community, especially achieving food security, mitigating the impact of natural disasters and countering all forms of extremism which undermine economic progress and negatively affect the livelihood of our peoples.
The President appreciated the Turkish leadership for hosting the trilateral Summit of Afghanistan-Pakistan and Turkey for the seventh time and said that Turkey is a trusted friend of both Afghanistan and Pakistan, adding that all the three countries share the objective of peace and stability in Afghanistan and in the wider region.
He said that held under the theme of ‘connectivity,’ the 7th trilateral summit meeting would help in further strengthening economic and commercial cooperation while improving the existing and developing new rail and road links.
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.
The President hailed Turkey’s contributions and constructive role in Afghanistan both under the ambit of the trilateral mechanism as well as the Istanbul process and urged Pakistan and Turkey for intensifying cooperation, both bilaterally as well as under the trilateral mechanism to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.
He said that profound and far reaching changes are taking place from Middle East to Afghanistan but Afghanistan remains the immediate challenge for us. The President emphasized on Turkey and Pakistan to play proactive role and make concerted efforts for eliminating the ever growing narco trade in Afghanistan, which he termed a great source of financing for terrorism in the region, adding that immediate remedial measures have to be taken to eradicate drug trafficking to ensure long lasting stability and development. 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 and urged for further expanding these ties as there still exist great potential for defense cooperation. 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 and urged the need to ensure that this transformation is peaceful without resorting to violence, without external interference and in accordance with the aspirations of the people. The President reiterated support and solidarity with Turkey on the incident of shelling from across its border.
On situation in Palestine, President Zardari said that Pakistan condemns the recent air assault on Gaza strip by Israeli forces and said that Pakistan has consistently extended unequivocal and unreserved support to the Palestinian cause. 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. The President said that we greatly admire giant strides that Turkey has made on the road to socio-economic progress under its visionary leadership.
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 which, he said, go beyond the governments and are rooted in common history, culture and ethos of our people.
President Gul 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. He thanked President Zardari for participation in the trilateral summit on Afghanistan and appreciated his efforts for regional peace and stability.
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 to further strengthen bilateral relations particularly trade and investment ties.
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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Haji Ahmed Malik
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