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Pakistan, Turkey to boost cooperation

25 December, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Turkey on Tuesday agreed to conclude the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) in the first quarter of the next year to promote bilateral trade.

The understanding came in a meeting between Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Prime Minister's House.

Later, in a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart‚ Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed the confidence that this economic framework would significantly contribute towards facilitating trade between the two countries.

He said both the sides had agreed to intensify cooperation in energy‚ trade‚ urban and infrastructure development and housing. He said the strong business delegation accompanying Prime Minister Erdogan testified to the confidence that Turkish companies had in business opportunities in Pakistan.

"We have just concluded a comprehensive review of our bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern."He said their discussions were marked by unanimity of views on all issues. He said the two sides had also signed a number of MoUs which include making the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul ECO container train operative. He said regular operations of the train will harness greater economic integration between the region and beyond. The premier expressed the confidence that interactions of today would further intensify cooperative partnership between the two countries.

Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "We are attaching great significance to bilateral visits in order to enhance cooperation in different fields. Our political relations with Pakistan are gaining strength to achieve the desired objectives. We want to enhance cooperation with Pakistan in areas of aviation‚ railways and maritime. We plan to open a new consulate in Lahore. These steps will help cement our relations in future," he maintained.

Later, Pakistan and Turkey signed two MoUs in Islamabad for cooperation in sports and for coping with natural disasters. Both the prime ministers witnessed the signing ceremony.Meanwhile, Pakistan and Turkey on Tuesday expressed their resolve to comprehensively upgrade their bilateral relations across all areas of mutual interest with focus on economic and commercial aspects.

A joint statement issued at the conclusion of the visit of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the two sides desired to enhance cooperation in social sectors, especially culture‚ education and tourism.

They noted that improved cooperation in the social sector will also serve as a vehicle for greater people-to-people relations between the two countries. Both sides agreed to maintain active political consultative process as well as regular exchange of high-level visits alongside visits of parliamentarians‚ businessmen‚ civil society and media representatives.

Pakistan and Turkey will facilitate investments by the private sector in both countries. Pakistan will especially encourage the Turkish private sector for investments in key sectors of energy‚ especially coal‚ hydroelectric and wind‚ infrastructure including motorways‚ roads and airports‚ low-cost housing and urban development and municipal services like public transport and solid waste management. They will encourage their respective state and private banks to open branches in Pakistan and Turkey.

They will also ensure regular operations of the Istanbul-Islamabad container train for enhanced on-land connectivity between the two countries. The leadership of the two countries agreed to strengthen the existing cooperation and partnership in security and counter-terrorism related issues.

Pakistan and Turkey will further deepen their defence cooperation by exploring the possibility of joint defence production and allied research and development. They also resolved to learn from each other's best practices in skill development and vocational training programs.

Both sides will also enhance cooperation between educational institutions and increase the number of scholarships to students to pursue undergraduate‚ graduate and post-graduate level studies in both countries in the fields of engineering‚ technology‚ medicine and management sciences.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit Turkey, which the latter accepted.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also called on President Mamnoon Hussain at the President House on Tuesday. The president also hosted a lunch in the honour of the visiting dignitary.

Later, Deputy Prime Minister of Mauritius Dr. Ahmed Rashid Beebeejaun also called on President Mamnoon Hussain.Talking to Ahmed Rashid Beebeejaun, the president said Pakistan attached great importance to its relations with Mauritius and desired further progress in the bilateral relations. He also offered assistance to Mauritius for technical training and education in diverse fields including medical‚ engineering‚ pharmacy‚ dentistry‚ banking and diplomacy.Dr. Ahmed Rashid Beebeejaun said Mauritius highly valued its relations with Pakistan and was keen to explore ways and means to enhance bilateral trade and commercial ties.

End.

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