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    Turkey hosts meeting of Pakistan, Afghanistan leaders in Istanbul

    HotNewsTurkey Staff
    30.10.2008 - 16:11 | Son Güncelleme: 30.10.2008 - 18:40

    The Turkish prime minister hosted the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan to discuss efforts to bring peace to their region at a conference in Turkey. (UPDATED)

    Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani met on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum's "Europe and Central Asia" meeting in Istanbul on Thursday.

     

    The leaders, referring to last year's trilateral summit in Ankara between the presidents of the three countries, reiterated their commitment to the encouragement of efforts for peace, security, stability and economic development in the region, Erdogan told in a final declaration released after half the hour meeting.

     

    The presidents of Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan would meet on the earliest possible occassion, he added.

    Thursday's meeting came just hours after officials reported that Taliban militants stormed a government building in Kabul. One attacker blew himself up inside, killing five people.

    Pakistan's tribal belt became a haven for hundreds of al Qaeda and Taliban extremists who fled the U.S.-led toppling of Afghanistan's hardline Taliban regime in late 2001.

    Afghan and Western officials have repeatedly accused Pakistan of failing to do enough to stop extremists based in its troubled tribal region and have expressed concerns over its recent negotiations with Taliban militants.

    Islamabad rejects the claims, saying that the root of the problem is in Afghanistan and that it has more than 90,000 troops along the border, with 1,000 Pakistani soldiers having died fighting insurgents since 2001.

    A tripartite summit among the presidents of Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan was held in the Turkish capital of Ankara on April 29-30, 2007. The presidents released an "Ankara declaration" at the end of their meeting which was also attended by Erdogan.

     

    In the declaration, Pakistan and Afghanistan had agreed to enhance their relations on the basis of good neighborhood and respect to their territorial integrity.

     

    The three countries also set up a joint working group which held its first meeting in the Turkish capital of Ankara on July 6, 2007.

     

    Turkey has of late been playing a great role on the global stage. It has been mediating between Syria and Israel, taking some kind of a role in Iran’s nuclear dispute and finally working on the formation of a Caucasus alliance, even discussing the issue with Armenia, a country that it has no diplomatic relations with.

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