Islamabad, October 16, 2012 (PPI-OT): President Asif Ali Zardri and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on the sidelines of 12th ECO summit at Baku, Azerbaijan and held wide-ranging discussions on bilateral, regional and international issues, peace process in Afghanistan and the situation in Middle East particularly Syria, says a press release received here today from Baku.
The President said that both Pakistan and Turkey need to coordinate closely on the deteriorating situation in Syria as it has serious implications for the entire Middle Eastern region. He said that Pakistan has already condemned the reprehensible act of cross border shelling in which Turkish citizens lost their lives and also expressed Pakistan’s full support and solidarity with Turkey on this grave incident.
The President said that Pakistan’s position, in this regard is based on the principle of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and added that as stable democracies both Pakistan and Turkey were well placed to play a constructive role at the present critical juncture.
The President said that Pakistan appreciates the democratic transformations in the Middle East and the broader Islamic World and believed that this transformation should be in accordance with the aspirations of the people.
Appreciating Turkey’s constructive role in Afghanistan, the President said that both countries needed to intensify their cooperation, both bilaterally as well as under the trilateral mechanism to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of reconciliation.
The President also inquired about President Gül’s health and prayed for his full recovery.
President Zardari said that both Pakistan and Turkey should create facilitative mechanisms and opportunities for their private sectors in order to achieve the mutually agreed trade target of $ 2 billion and called for fast tracking the conclusion of Pakistan-Turkey Preferential Trade Agreement.
The President said that he was glad to know that Turkish banks are opening more branches in Pakistan , adding that it was also encouraging that our private sectors are collaborating in the energy, construction, food processing and rubber industries.
The President during the meeting invited Turkish investment in key sectors such as infrastructure, housing, engineering, energy, agriculture, telecommunications and mining.
The President said that Pakistan was keenly interested in the “Gül train” project and thanked the Turkish Prime Minister for his personal interest in Gul Train project and stressed for collective work on generating more cargo load for this train.
Commenting on issues of Ummah, the President said that these are defining times for the Islamic Ummah as we are facing unprecedented challenges from Afghanistan to North Africa and the entire Middle East and these unprecedented circumstances demand extraordinary vision and leadership on our part.
Turkish Prime Minister assured full support and cooperation to Pakistan in all areas and appreciated the sacrifices made by Pakistan in the fight against militancy and terrorism. He also assured assistance to Pakistan in its efforts in the war against terror. Reccep Tayyib Erdogan said that the close cooperation at various levels between Pakistan and Turkey would further strengthen bilateral relations particularly trade and investment ties. The two leaders hoped for early implementation of bilateral agreements signed during Turkish Prime Minister’s recent visit to Pakistan.
Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, foreign minister was also present during the meeting.
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