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Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan to strengthen anti-terrorism co-op

By Xinhua,

Ankara : Presidents of Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan on Friday stressed their determination to strengthen tripartite cooperation to fight against terrorism, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

At the joint press conference held by Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari following the Turkey-Afghanistan-Pakistan tripartite summit in Istanbul on Friday, Gul said that the three parties confirmed that counter terrorism is the priority they have attached to.

Describing the tripartite summit held on Friday was sincere and fruitful, Gul said that the presidents discussed political, economic and security-related topics pertaining to the region.

“Foreign affairs commissions of the Turkish, Afghan and Pakistani parliaments will soon convene. Military cooperation will be further developed. We will cooperate in the fight against illegal drug trafficking,” Gul said.

Karzai, on his part, said that relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan had improved extremely well since the election of his counterpart Zardari in September.

He said that the two discussed fresh measures to curb Islamist extremists in the three-way talks and pledged stronger cooperation against terrorism.

“The foreign ministers of Afghanistan and Pakistan are now working together and developing joint strategy against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups,” Karzai said.

Referring to tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi after last week’s attacks in Mumbai, Gul said the three parties have jointly condemn the hideous attacks and vowed to enhance cooperation in fighting against terrorism.

Zardari said that Pakistan is awaiting concrete proof on suspicions that a Pakistan-based militant group was behind last week’s deadly attacks in Mumbai.

According to the report, a joint statement was issued after a three-way meeting, saying that the presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan expressed their will to continue with a comprehensive cooperation in all areas so as to contribute to peace, security and stability in the region.

The meeting, aimed at easing tensions between Kabul and Islamabad, is the second round of talks in a move to bring the two neighbors closer.

The first summit was held in Ankara in April last year, which enabled Karzai and then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to discuss stepping up joint efforts for regional security.