Turkey to host summit with Pakistan and Afghanistan
Ankara - The presidents of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey were set to hold talks in the Turkish capital Ankara on Wednesday, with the topic of security set to top the agenda.
Presidents Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan are expected to commit to sharing intelligence and cooperating more closely in dealing with the Taliban extremists who freely cross the porous border between the two neighbours.
"There will be an exchange of ideas in regards to the security situation in the region ... (and) on future common projects which will aim to contribute to stability, security and the welfare of the region," according to a statement released by Turkish President Abdullah Gul's office on Tuesday.
Wednesday's one-day summit is the third that Turkey has hosted in the last three years, in what has become known as the Ankara process.
While no concrete decisions on setting up common security projects are expected to come out of Wednesday's meetings, the summit and the Ankara process in general are considered important in their own right for creating stability and cooperation in the region.
"The trilateral process is a concrete contributor to this," a diplomatic source told the German Press Agency (dpa), pointing out that the process has resulted in a deepening of understanding between the two sometimes fractious neighbours, both of whom have historically good ties to Turkey.
The first trilateral summit, held in April 2007, was marked by accusations from Afghanistan that Pakistan was not doing enough to boost security, and was, in effect, encouraging Taliban extremists and creating instability inside Afghanistan.
The second summit in December 2008, with the newly elected Zardari, was much more successful, with both sides committing themselves to security cooperation.
Wednesday's meetings will be the first time that the military and intelligence chiefs of Afghanistan and Pakistan will be attending the trilateral summit, a sign of the deeper commitment on both sides to work together, the diplomatic source said.
As part of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan, Turkey has around 800 troops in the Afghan capital Kabul. Turkey has taken a highly active role in development projects in Afghanistan, including the setting up of schools and medical facilities as well as training Afghan troops and police officers. (dpa)