ANKARA, 11 August 2011: Turkey and Pakistan took a leap in bilateral relations and agreed to transform existing historical brotherly relations into tangible economic partnership. The Foreign Minister of Pakistan Ms Hina Rabbani Khar and the Foreign Minister of Turkey Prof. Dr. Ahmed Davutoğlu in their tête-à-tête and delegation level meetings here today decided to discuss modalities of entering into Preferential Trade Agreement. These modalities will be discussed between the Secretaries of the Ministries of Commerce of the two countries in a meeting to be convened soon. The two countries also agreed to explore the possibility of doing bilateral trade in local currencies that will give boost to existing commercial activities.

“Pakistan is following the policy to leave in peace with neighbors,” said Ms Khar, adding “Pakistan will be the first country to gain from peace and the first to suffer from instability.” Appreciating Turkey’s positive role in the region, Ms Khar termed Turkey as the pillar of stability in the region. She agreed with Prof. Dr. Davutoğlu that the two countries should deliberate on the “Common Asian Strategy” which will provide a framework for regional integration.

Visiting Turkey on the invitation of her Turkish counterpart, the Pakistani Foreign Minister said economic dependency is the guarantor for our future. She said that the cargo train project between Islamabad and Istanbul, named as “Gul Train” needs to be pursued vigorously as it will decrease the costs of trade significantly. To promote cultural and educational relations, Ms Khar offered that Turkey’s best University should open a campus in Pakistan under public-private partnership. She also welcomed the suggestion from Turkey to start exchange of training the officers of the Foreign Service on reciprocal basis.

Prof. Dr. Davutoğlu informed that bilateral trade over the last six months has reached US $ 632 million showing an upward trend. Both sides however agreed that the pace of economic projects needs to be increased to achieve the target of US $ 2 billion by year 2012. ENDS

 Photo caption: Foreign Minister of Turkey Prof. Dr. Ahmed Davutoğlu welcoming the Foreign Minister of Pakistan Ms Hina Rabbani Khar at Ankara on 11 August 2011.