Islamabad: I am very pleased to be in brotherly country Turkey, on one of my first visits abroad after assuming the office of the Foreign Minister. I am grateful to Prof. Davutoglu for his kind invitation and for the extraordinary warm welcome with which we were received here.
Turkey is very close to our hearts. I was here this April with President Zardari. Each time I come here, I feel like coming to my own home. This is the measure of our brotherly and friendly relations and the affection between our two people.
Prof. Davutoglu and I have just concluded our talks. The main thrust of our discussion focused on converting the excellent political goodwill between our two countries into more tangible economic projects and framework agreements.
In this respect, we have agreed to start negotiations on a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA). We have also decided to explore the possibility of doing bilateral trade in our local currencies.
Connectivity projects are extremely important and we look forward to the early realization of Gul Train project with the involvement of private sector. Our trade relations are modest and we believe that through these arrangements we can double and even triple the trade volume in the coming years.
Pakistan offers immense opportunities for investment in diverse sectors like energy, housing, infrastructure development, textile, dairy, and agriculture. I invite Turkish investors to take advantage of these opportunities and our liberal investment regime.
There is great scope to strengthen our cultural relations by encouraging greater people to people contacts, visits of parliamentarians, exchange of students and media persons. We would like to have institutional arrangements between our higher educational institutions and more expansion in the scholarships scheme.
The world today is passing through extraordinary times. Profound changes are taking place in our broader region. Pakistan and Turkey are factors of stability in the region. Working together we can convert these challenges into opportunities for a better future for our people.
I look forward to meeting His Excellency President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan tomorrow in Istanbul. We keenly await the visit of Prime Minister Erdogan to Pakistan at an early date to attend the High Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) session. I have also invited Foreign Minister Davutoglu to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience so that we could continue our useful dialogue.
For more information, contact:
Syed Haider Ali Jafri
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 921 0335 and 9056604