Pakistan to host tripartite summit on regional peace

April 20th, 2008 - 3:15 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Benazir Bhutto

Islamabad, April 20 (IANS) Afghanistan and Turkey will join hosts Pakistan in June for their second tripartite summit to discuss peace and stability in the region. “Turkey has once again expressed its desire to hold a summit to discuss and strengthen inputs for peace and stability in the region,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said at a joint press conference with his visiting Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan here Saturday.

“Turkey is ready to have these meetings, realising the willingness on the part of both countries (Pakistan and Afghanistan),” Babacan added.

The tripartite mechanism was established last year on the initiative of Turkey to enable an exchange of views on Afghanistan-Pakistan ties and their repercussions for the region, Dawn reported Sunday.

Last year’s summit had led to the crafting of a joint strategy by Afghanistan and Pakistan against threats from the Taliban.

According to Qureshi, Pakistan and Turkey agreed that peace and stability in Afghanistan was in “our mutual interest and military means are not the solution to Afghan problems and the approach towards the issue needs to be revisited”.

The two foreign ministers agreed to hold a meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) of the three countries in May. The group was set up during last year’s summit to monitor progress on measures worked out at the meeting.

JWG has already held two rounds of talks. The third round, which was scheduled for January, was postponed because of the political situation in Pakistan following the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

“Pakistan’s geo-strategic location has the ability to influence political and economic dynamics of South and Central Asia,” Babacan maintained.

“I have suggested that we develop a strategic dialogue to enhance our contacts and further improve our warm relations,” Qureshi added.

The two countries also discussed measures to boost economic and trade ties.

“We have decided to take our bilateral trade to $1 billion in the next two years,” said Qureshi.

Bilateral trade between Pakistan and Turkey stands currently at $690 million.

Pakistan and Turkey also discussed proposals for co-production in the defence sector.

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