Mubarak concludes visit to Ankara
Egypt-Turkey, Politics, 12/7/1998
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday concluded a two-day official visit to Turkey, during which he conveyed a message from President Hafez al-Assad to Turkish President Suleiman Demirel.
The message implies a new assertion of Damascus' keenness for better relations with Ankara following the tensions that prevailed in relations between the two countries in October due to the Kurdistani Workers Party.
In a joint press conference with Demirel, Mubarak said "I conveyed to President Demirel the desire of President al-Assad to improve bilateral relations and establish constructive and fruitful cooperation between the two countries." Mubarak added, "President al-Assad is sincere in his (efforts) to reform relations with Turkey, and we want to see developed, fruitful and constructive relations between Turkey and the Arab states."
The Egyptian president traveled between Ankara and Damascus in October to alleviate tensions raised as a result of Turkey's threats to use force against Syria. The mediation efforts made by Egypt helped in concluding the Adanah security agreement, according to which Damascus pledged to prevent revolutionaries from the Kurdistani Workers Party from staying in its territories.
But Demirel seemed cautious towards closeness with Syria. He said he expected Syria to carry out the Adanah agreement. "We want to start a new phase in order to get rid of the remains of past incidents. But the Adanah agreement has to be more functional."
When asked if he intends to meet with President al-Assad, Demirel said, "It is still very early for that."
He repeated that Turkey's cooperation with Israeli does not target any country.
Meanwhile, the Turkish daily "Radical" said that Demirel told Mubarak during their talks that Ankara is still following whether Damascus will abide by the security agreement.
Apart from the situation between Syria and Turkey, President Mubarak called for strengthening trade relations between Egypt and Turkey. Mubarak said, "It is ripe time to establish a stronger cooperation and partnership relations between Turkey and Egypt to restore the brightness of the Mediterranean as a basin of prosperity," because the two countries, due to their geographical location on the main trade crossroads, had been always payed close attention to the stability and prosperity of the whole Mediterranean region.
Mubarak asserted that the two countries "have to take brave and precise steps to fully benefit from this new phase of globalization."
The governments of Turkey and Egypt are trying to establish bilateral free trade area in order to increase the value of their trade exchange to US $2 billion annually.
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