Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari (L) and Turkey's President Abdullah Gul shake hands. – AFP File Photo

MAKKAH: President Asif Ali Zardari and his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul met Wednesday on the sidelines of fourth extra ordinary Islamic summit in Makkah, and exchanged views on wide-ranging bilateral, regional and international issues, situation in the Middle East with focus on Syria and the reconciliation and peace process in Afghanistan.

The president appreciated the Turkish leadership for the positive role for bringing peace and stability in the Middle East and said that Pakistan considers Turkey as an important player in the region and expressed hope that it would continue playing its active role in the regional peace and development.

About the situation in North Africa and Middle East, President Zardari said that as pillars of stability in the broader region, Pakistan and Turkey were well placed to play a positive role in dealing with the prevailing situation in the region and Middle East.

The Two leaders were unanimous in the view that both Pakistan and Turkey had significant and important responsibility in the comity of nations and that both the countries had unanimity of views on all the regional and international issues.

They said that both the countries were facing many challenges to ensure peace, security and stability in the region but vowed to confront all the challenges and contribute in a meaningful way to the cause of peace and stability of the region.

Discussing Pak-Turkey bilateral ties, the president said that the mechanism of High Level Cooperation Council between the two countries is geared towards further deepening the bilateral cooperation and enhancing its scope to the benefit of peoples of both countries.

Turkey and Pakistan enjoy exemplary relations which go beyond the governments and are rooted in common history, culture and ethos of our people, he stated.

He said that establishment of the HLCC between the two countries symbolizes the close and special nature of Pakistan-Turkey bilateral ties, adding that it also reflects the shared common vision of the leadership to give a future-oriented strategic outlook to our time tested bilateral partnership.

President Zardari urged for an early conclusion of Pakistan- Turkey Preferential Trade Agreement and the opening of the bank branches in each others' countries to achieve the mutually agreed trade target of 2 billion dollars by the end of this year.

The President also thanked President Gul for personal interest in the Gul Train project, which he said would usher in a new era of development and economic activity, urging an early completion of the train project.

The Turkish president assured full support and cooperation from Turkey to Pakistan in all spheres.

He appreciated Pakistan's sacrifices in the fight against militancy and also assured full help to Pakistan in its efforts in the war against terror.

He said the close cooperation at various levels between Pakistan and Turkey would further strengthen bilateral ties.

They hoped for early implementation of bilateral agreements signed during Turkish Prime Minister's recent visit to Pakistan.


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