President Zardari arrives in Istanbul to represent Pakistan at 11th ECO Summit

ISTANBUL: President Asif Ali Zardari arrived here on Tuesday to represent Pakistan at the 11th Heads of State and Government Summit of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), being held here on December 22 and 23.President Zardari was received at the Ataturk International airport by Governor Istanbul Huseyin Avnimutlu, Pakistan’s Ambassador in Turkey Tariq Aziz ud Din and senior officials.Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Chairman Board of Investment Salim Mandviwala and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have already reached here as members of the President delegation.Prior to the Summit, senior officials meetings were held from December 20 to 21 while the 19th Council of Ministers Meeting will be held on December 22.

During his stay in Istanbul, the President will have bilateral meetings with the President of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, President of Iran, Ahmedinijad, President of Kyrgyzstan Ms.  Roza Otunbayeva, President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon.Along with the Heads of State and Government of member states, representatives from ECO Secretariat, ECO subsidiary organs and a number of international organizations are expected to attend the meetings.Talking to APP, Pakistan’s Ambassador in Istanbul, Tariq Aziz ud Din said that agenda of the 11th Summit is integration, cooperation and prosperity of the people of this region.He said the member states will also review how to face the challenges confronted the region and how to tackle it. They will also deliberate on the targets set in the last summit and to work jointly to achieve these targets in the larger interests of their people.

During the Summit, he said, a trilateral summit meeting of Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan will also be held on December 24 with main focus on security situation of the region, peace in Afghanistan and the issues of terrorism, drug trafficking and smuggling, confronted by the region.The Pakistan envoy said that member states of the Trilateral summit are determined to face the challenges and root out the menace of terrorism from the region to bring peace and stability and put their people on the road to progress.
He said that the member states of the ECO summit will also focus on increase in trade and economy. He said the trade between Pakistan and Turkey was US dollar 782 million last year and it has now reached to US dollar one billion during 2010, while it will be reached to US dollar two billion till 2012.The 10th ECO summit was held in Tehran in March 2009 and President Asif Ali Zardari led Pakistan’s delegation to the summit.The ECO was founded in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, and now it has also included Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan – App