UPDATE WITH SENTOP'S REMARKS ON S-400 MISSILE
By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - The speaker of Pakistan's lower house of parliament stressed on Wednesday the need for new partnerships in the region and urged enhanced trade and commerce cooperation with Turkey.
In a statement, during a meeting with the Speaker of the Turkish parliament Mustafa Sentop in Moscow, National Assembly head Asad Qaiser expressed gratitude for the continued support of Turkey to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
During the meeting, Sentop said Kashmir was a "bleeding wound of history" and urged an end to the dispute between India and Pakistan based on UN resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, according to the statement.
Reiterating his country's support for Kashmiris, he said relations between Ankara and Islamabad were "deeply etched in the hearts and minds of the two people."
Sentop emphasized that the cooperation between the two nations must be boosted, saying it is the cornerstone of Turkish foreign policy to see a prosperous, peaceful and developed Pakistan.
"The two sides also stressed for regional peace and resolved to strengthen the forum of the 'Speakers Conference of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey'," the statement said.
Established upon Pakistan's suggestion in 2017, the forum held its first conference in Islamabad in December of that year and is due to meet for a third time in October 2019 in Istanbul.
Sentop acknowledged the Pakistani National Assembly’s contributions to regional peace through the establishment of this Forum, suggesting its mandate be enhanced.
For his part, Qaiser agreed to discussing the matter in the upcoming Speakers Conference.
Referring to a recent visit of Pakistani Premier Imran Khan to Turkey, Qaiser said the two countries needed to translate excellent political cooperation to vibrant economic partnership.
"Both sides noted that while strategic partnerships between the two countries saw a marked increase in the recent years, the same was not reflected in the economic cooperation", the statement added: " The volume of bilateral trade, although improved in recent years, still had a great potential for increase on both sides".
Qaiser noted that the conclusion of a free trade agreement and removal of double tariffs would boost economic cooperation.
Sentop is planned to visit Pakistan in November this year, the statement concluded.
- S-400s to be delivered in July
"The first batch of S-400 air defense systems will be delivered in July," Sentop said at the meeting with Turkish journalists in Moscow.
"There are countries that have S-300 missiles in the NATO. There is no objection to these countries," Sentop said by referring to objections to Turkey over the S-400 purchasing from Russia.
Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have escalated in recent months over Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S-400 systems, which Washington said could trigger sanctions.
Sentop also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressed his condolences to him over the submarine fire that killed 14 sailors on Tuesday.
*Ali Cura contributed to this story from Moscow.