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Turkey and Pakistan to boost trade
Turkey and Pakistan agreed to boost economic and trade cooperation on Sunday, with both prime ministers proposing an increase in air links between the two countries.
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2003 17:26 GMT

Erdogan (left): Turkey and Pakistan's mutual trade is set to increase

Turkey and Pakistan agreed to boost economic and trade cooperation on Sunday, with both prime ministers proposing an increase in air links between the two countries.

Recep Erdogan, sitting next to his Pakistani counterpart Zafarullah Jamali, told a news conference that Ankara and Islamabad “want a quick jump in volume of trade and both sides agreed on it."
  
The Turkish PM, who is accompanied by MPs, senior ministers and more than 100 businessmen for a three day visit, has already began discussions on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues.

He will meet President Pervez Musharraf on Monday.
 
"We discussed at length the new avenues as far as trade and eonomic cooperation is concerned," Jamali told the news conference. 

Both agreed to increase flights between the two countries and "issued instructions right away to authorities about starting air links from Islamabad and Lahore," said Erdogan.
  
Turkish airlines currently operates flights to Karachi only.

Trade between the two countries stands at about $170 million, out of which Pakistan exports were about $70 million last year.

Bilateral consensus
  
The two sides have common views on Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Cyprus and the Palestinian problem, Jamali added.
  
"It is the need of the time that in this 21st century we - the brotherly Muslim countries - go hand in hand on these issues and many other issues for future development and understanding".

Pakistan and Turkey have been working closely at international forums on issues of mutual interest. "Turkey has been consistently supporting Pakistan's principled position on the Kashmir dispute" with India, it said.

Islamabad has been endorsing efforts of the Turkish Government for resolution of the ongoing problem in Cyprus. 
     
Jamali also suggested regular consultations in agriculture, communications, science and technology, defence and education.
     
Supporting efforts for peace talks between India and Pakistan, Erdogan expressed the hope that "positive results" would be achieved on all issues, including the dispute over the divided state of Kashmir.
  
The two countries also signed three agreements to further strengthen cooperation in combating drug trafficking, facilitate overland trade transportation and protection of the environment.
  
Erdogan said the most difficult period for Iraq would be the aftermath of the war.
  
The country needs a new constitution, a population census and local and general elections should be completed "very quickly," he said.
  
He reiterated his country's stand that the territorial integrity of Iraq must be respected and said the "natural resources of Iraq belong only to the people of Iraq."

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