Turkey to host trilateral Afghan peace summit, joint press conference

Ankara: Pakistan and Turkey would hold a trilateral summit with Afghanistan in Istanbul to bring lasting peace and stability to the war-battered Afghanistan whose people had been suffering for over three decades.

This was announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Imran Khan during a joint press conference here. The trilateral summit would be called as soon as Turkish local elections are concluded in March.

The two leaders first offered Friday prayers at the Betepe Nation Mosque and then arrived in the adjacent Presidential Palace Complex here for a meeting. The one-on-one meeting between the two leaders lasted for two hours and 10 minutes that was followed by a meeting between Turkish and Pakistani delegations.

Following the meeting, the two leaders held a joint press conference. Khan said the international community should help with the peace Afghan process.

“The people of Afghanistan have been suffering for over three decades. Pakistan is already helping dialogue between the Taliban and Americans. I look forward to the summit meeting in Istanbul, where we hope that Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey will be able to help in this peace process,” Khan said.

The two leaders reiterated their determination to continue extending strong support to one another on all issues of core national interest. They re-affirmed that the unparalleled fraternal relations between the peoples and the governments of the two countries dated back to centuries and were embedded in a common cultural and religious heritage, as well as a shared vision for the future, based on complete mutual understanding and trust.

They noted with great satisfaction that relationship between the two brotherly countries had over the years transformed into a strong strategic partnership in all areas of mutual interest that has withstood the tests of time.

PM Khan and President Erdogan expressed their commitment to further enhance their bilateral relations in every field to the benefit of their peoples, and reiterated the importance of the Turkey-Pakistan High Level Strategic Cooperation Council mechanism that also includes several working groups in further strengthening bilateral relations.

Noting their ever-expanding defense and defense industry cooperation, they expressed resolve to further strengthen the existing economic, trade and commercial relations between the two countries, and agreed to initiate mechanisms for collaboration in health and agriculture sectors.

The two leaders decided to further enhance people-to-people contacts through increased exchanges and cooperation in education, culture, tourism and youth fields, and underlined their abiding commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

They also reiterated their resolve to fight against the Fethullah Gulen terrorist organization. Khan and Erdogan expressed satisfaction over the ongoing cooperation between the two countries at the multilateral forums including the United Nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Economic Cooperation Organization, Developing 8 Countries, and other relevant forums.

They reaffirmed their commitment to achieving and sustaining peace, security and stability in their respective regions as well as internationally. They underscored the need for resolution of the issue of Jammu and Kashmir through a sustained dialogue process and in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

In a joint statement released after the conference, Turkey and Pakistan acknowledged that sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan could be achieved through reconciliation among all segments of the Afghan society with the support of the regional countries and the international community.

The statement recognised Turkish support for Pakistan’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) based on non-discriminatory criteria, and reaffirmed that Pakistan’s adherence to the NSG Guidelines and participation in the NSG would strengthen the global non-proliferation objectives.

The statement reiterated the two countries’ full and resolute support to efforts for comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue on the basis of political equality of the two communities on the Island, with a view to building peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

It emphasised the centrality of the cause of Palestine, rejected any attempt to alter the legal status and historical character of Al Quds, and called on the international community to increase their support to the Palestinian people in realising their quest for the establishment of an independent, sovereign and contiguous State of Palestine on the basis of the borders of 1967 with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

The statement further agreed to increase collaboration to uphold the true values of Islam at the international forums as well as to work closely against any attempts to malign, distort or vilify the historical image of Islam, its revered personalities, and its fundamental beliefs, and expressed their strong resolve to further increase the frequency of bilateral contacts at the highest level.

The two countries reiterated their determination to continue taking steps in all areas of mutual interest for mutual peace and prosperity, especially by transforming the historic Turkey-Pakistan relationship into an increasingly stronger trade, investment and economic relationship for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries.

It was decided to convene the 6th Session of the Turkey-Pakistan High Level Strategic Cooperation Council in Pakistan at mutually convenient dates for further discussion on these areas. PM Khan also addressed a delegation of Turkey-Pakistan Business Council of Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK) in Ankara.

Imran said his government’s primary concern was to lift people out of poverty and create wealth in the country. He said owing to corruption the progress of the country slackened. The premier reminded the audience about Pakistan being one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia in the 1960s.

“However, we went wrong in the 1970s, because of our socialist mindset [during that time] which actually became a deterrent and [hindered] profit-making. Nationalisation took place. Some of our [big] industries were nationalised. We went backwards,” he lamented.

Imran said his government’s primary concern was to lift people out of poverty and create wealth in the country. Citing China’s example, he said there was no other country that had lifted 700 million people out of poverty in 30 years.

“They [China] allowed wealth creation and they had specific programmes to achieve it,” he noted. “Our government has a policy. We feel that wealth creation is going to take Pakistan out of economic crisis, to erase poverty,” the premier added.

Views were also exchanged on increasing Turkish investment in Pakistan and construction of five million houses for deserving people. Earlier, a delegation of Turkish investors in agri-based industry led by Turkish Minister for Agriculture and Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli called on Prime Minister Imran. Prospects of collaboration in food processing, dairy sector and food chain management were discussed during the meeting.

Mariana Baabar adds: Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi briefed his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavu o lu on the recent developments concerning peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Qureshi is in Turkey accompanying Prime Minister Imran Khan. Turkey is the fifth country in the region that Qureshi has visited in his latest outreach efforts after earlier visits to Afghanistan, Iran, China, Russia and Qatar.

According to the Foreign Office, Turkey was informed about Pakistan’s desire to support and facilitate an inclusive, Afghan-owned, Afghan-led process.

“This has emerged as a notable convergence and shared desire among all, particularly Afghanistan’s neighbours, who had serious stakes in an amicable resolution of the four decade-old conflict,” Qureshi was quoted by his ministry.

The foreign minister appreciated Turkey’s key role in strengthening regional cooperation on Afghanistan through the Heart of Asia – Istanbul process.

After Pakistan succeeded in bringing the Afghan Taliban and the United States to the negotiating table, another round is expected but despite efforts the Taliban are reluctant to talk to the Kabul government.

The Turkish foreign minister said Pakistan and Turkey, as close partners, would continue their efforts to promote synergies on important issues. Both sides expressed satisfaction over the trajectory of bilateral relations, symbolised by unprecedented traditional warmth and affection, at the peoples’ level.

This has guided the relationship towards a consistent, harmonious and coordinated approach on various regional and international issues. Located at strategic locations, Pakistan and Turkey, among important regions, faced similar challenges and had a lot to share and benefit from each other’s experiences.

AlamulKhabar Pakistan