ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Turkey on Tuesday pledged to intensify cooperation in energy, trade, urban development, infrastructure and housing sectors besides inking agreement to operationalise the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul ECO Container train.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after holding a round of formal talks at the PM House, termed it a ‘comprehensive review’ of bilateral relations.
“We have just concluded a comprehensive review of our bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern. Our discussions were marked by unanimity of views on all issues,” Nawaz stated.
With the shared vision to strengthen economic ties, the two countries have also decided to conclude a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), in the first three months of 2014. Nawaz said that economic frameworks like the PTA, would significantly contribute towards trade facilitation.
The Turkish Prime Minister is here on a two-day visit, along with a large business delegation to expand multifaceted ties with Pakistan. Prime Minister Erdogan said Turkey wanted expanded bilateral ties with Pakistan in all fields including political, military, economic, trade and culture.
Erdogan also appreciated that his Pakistani counterpart made Turkey the second stop soon after he assumed his office. He expressed hope that the PTA between the two countries will go a long way in further expanding their economic ties.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the two sides have also signed number of MoUs including the operationalisation of the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul ECO Container train.
Nawaz stated that regular operations of the train would not only strengthen connectivity but it also had the potential to harness greater economic integration between the region and beyond. “I am confident that our interactions would further intensify cooperative partnership between the two countries,” he expressed.
Prime Minister Erdogan also announced opening of a Turkish Cultural Centre in Lahore. He said both sides have the political will to strengthen their cooperation. Nawaz said Pakistan and Turkey enjoyed a special relationship bound by fraternal ties of religion, history and culture.
Prime Minister Erdogan’s visit to Pakistan has reinforced these ties. Commenting on this, Nawaz said “As two functioning democracies, our perspectives are marked by a common outlook and shared objectives.”
The two leaders said they discussed regional situation and international issues of mutual interest.
“As two pillars of strength, Pakistan and Turkey stand united in our joint endeavour to promote peace and stability in the region,” Nawaz said.
“I am confident that the representative business forum that I, and Prime Minister Erdogan addressed in Lahore yesterday, would build on the synergies and strengths of our respective business communities,” he added.