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Last Updated:[14-10-2010 05:05:01 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Pak Urges Turkey to Facilitate Trade by Upgrading New Rail Link

tradenews Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Premier Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani conveyed to the visiting Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan that their country was desirous of upgrading the new rail link between both nations to maximize trade. The first Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) freight train started its journey from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, on August 14 and reached 14 days later in Istanbul, former capital of Turkey via Tehran.

The 6,500km (4,040 mile) trial service via the Iranian capital, Tehran, is a pilot project of the regional ECO, and Islamabad expects the link to boost Pakistan's trade with Turkey and Iran - currently estimated at $1bn - by as much as 50 percent. The ultimate aim of the project is to start a regular passenger train service between the ECO member states and provide a link to Europe and Central Asia.

While Gilani received Erdogan, he expressed his gratitude for extending a helping hand to the victims of the recent devastating floods of his country. Turkey provided funds to the tune of $200mn, out of which around $126mn were donated by the Turkish business community and ordinary people.

In response, Turkey's prime minister said it was natural for Turkey and Pakistan to help each other in hard times. He recalled Pakistan had not left Turkey on its own during its War of Independence and while the country was hit by a massive earthquake in 1999.

The Pak premier also emphasized that Ankara should encourage its private sector to collaborate even more closely with Pakistani counterparts in key sectors like construction, infrastructure, engineering, energy, agriculture, tele-communications, mining and textile, etc.

The ECO is an inter-governmental regional organization established in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey for the purpose of promoting economic, technical and cultural co-operation among the member states. Apart from the founding members, the organization includes Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

By Jose Roy

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