President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday urged the international community to help Pakistan and Afghanistan overcome problems of the region, observing that Turkish-inspired Trilateral Summit could serve as useful model in this behalf.

The President stated this during a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who promised that his country would soon deliver spare parts of Cobra helicopters to Pakistan free of cost, underlining the growing co-operation between the two countries in different fields.

“Pakistan today is facing different challenges arising from the conflict in the region and it is incumbent upon the international community to step forward and help both the countries in tackling these challenges,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Malik Ammad Khan, quoted the President as saying in a briefing to reporters after the meeting.

“The challenges we face in Pakistan today are of international, albeit world, magnitude and we need regional as well as international support to tackle these challenges,” Minister of State, who was part of the delegation, quoted the President as saying.

Zardari said the conflict in Afghanistan had spread the menaces of terrorism, drugs etc across its borders and countries of the region required active co-operation from all the friendly nations and states of the Western World to resolve these problems.

In this regard, he emphasised, Pakistan at this stage needed trade, and not aid, from the concerned countries to come out of its present difficulties. “For this purpose, we introduced the concept of Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) so that more access could be obtained for Pakistan to international markets.”
He said he was visiting Turkey for the fourth time in the last 18 months because the two countries enjoyed close relations and he wanted to further consolidate these ties, as the head of a democratic state.

Welcoming the Trilateral Summit, being held on Monday among Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey, President Zardari remarked that it gave the opportunity to his country to “draw attention of the world to our case and to send a strong message to the people of the world that we want to curb terrorism but to do that we need to empower ourselves by getting access to global markets.”

He said the proposed Islamabad-Istanbul-Tehran rail project would also greatly facilitate expansion in trade volume not only between the two countries but also among other countries of the region. He sought public-private partnership for this project.

He lauded Turkey’s support to Pakistan on Kashmir issue, contribution in providing succor to the victims of 2005 earthquake and its offer to build a football stadium in Muzaffarabad.

In his remarks, Prime Minister Erdogan promised that Turkey would soon deliver “free of cost” spare parts to Pakistan under the agreement already signed. Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Malik Ammad Khan, Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Secretary Foreign Affairs and Secretary Railways are accompanying the President in the visit.

The Turkish PM said business communities of the two countries should also get together in commerce and trade activities. During the meeting, the two sides pledged to soon introduce visa-free travel between the two countries while Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar informed the Turkish PM that Pakistan was looking into possibility of more Turkish Airlines flights to Islamabad and other cities.

Erdogan said the Turkish Deputy PM would attend the coming FODP conference in Dubai. “Peace enjoyed by Pakistan is peace of Turkey and unease of Pakistan is unease of Turkey,” he said. “We need joint international struggle against terrorism and hence fourth trilateral summit is being hosted here to take positive steps against the threat of terrorism.”

Meanwhile, Turkish President Abdullah Gul hosted a dinner in honour of President Zardari and Afghan President Karzai at the historic Sait Halim Pasa Palace.