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Turkey commends Vajpayee's peace initiative

M Shakeel Ahmed in Istanbul | September 18, 2003 19:35 IST
Last Updated: September 18, 2003 22:20 IST

Turkey, which shares a good equation with Pakistan, on Thursday commended Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's peace initiative with Islamabad and made it clear that no distinction must be made in dealing with terrorism nor should it be justified by any cause.

Also see: Vajpayee's visit: The complete coverage

During a 40-minute meeting with Vajpayee in Istanbul, Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer also appreciated India's unequivocal opposition to the removal of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat from Ramallah.

"There can be no reason, base or religious factor backing terrorism," Sezer was quoted as saying while emphasising the need for international cooperation to deal with the menace.

External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna told Indian reporters that the Turkish president's appreciation of Vajpayee's peace initiative with Pakistan came as the prime minister gave an overall view on terrorism in which neither Pakistan nor Kashmir figured.

The prime minister informed Sezer about the initiatives India has taken to improve ties with Pakistan, including the resumption of Lahore-Delhi bus service.

The two leaders also discussed the developments in Iraq and the situation in West Asia.

Sarna said both the leaders emphasised that territorial integrity and sovereignty of the war-ravaged country must be maintained and expressed concern over the humanitarian aspects of the situation.

On West Asia, the Turkish president appreciated the prime minister for backing Arafat by opposing any move to
remove him.

He highlighted the importance of having cooperation in the fields of transportation, communication, economic areas, defence and space.

He told Vajpayee that the Turkish Airways direct flight from lstanbul to New Delhi launched on Friday formed the
beginning of a new relationship between the two countries.

Turkish Airways resumed flights to India after a gap of nine years.

The airlines would begin full operation from September 29 operating three flights a week on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.


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