Joint Statement on U.S.-Turkey Consultations on Afghanistan

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–April 7, 2011.  Following is the text of a joint statement by the United States and Turkey on the U.S.-Turkey Consultations on Afghanistan.

April 4, 2011 a high ranking Turkish interagency delegation led by Deputy Director General for South Asia and Turkish representative in the International Contact Group Burak Akçapar, visited Washington D.C. for the third round of consultations with the U.S. Government on Afghanistan since 2009.

Welcoming the delegation, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Marc Grossman thanked Turkey for its important contributions in Afghanistan, both with a strong ISAF presence and a robust civilian assistance program. Referencing Secretary Clinton’s February 18 Asia Society speech, he highlighted that Turkey has a very important role to play in the “third surge”, which Secretary Clinton characterized as the diplomatic initiative to bring the Afghan conflict to an end and chart a new and more secure future for the region.

Akçapar confirmed Turkey’s resolve to continue to contribute to better regional understanding. Turkey hosted the Istanbul “Summit for Friendship and Cooperation at the Heart of Asia” and the fifth Afghan-Pakistani-Turkish Summit in December 2010; it recently organized a successful joint military exercise between the Afghan and Pakistani armies, and it will host a second regional summit in the fall of 2011. Ambassador Grossman welcomed these initiatives.

The agenda of the consultations included a broad range of topics centered around the three “surges” – particularly the civilian and diplomatic. Turkish and American government representatives met with their counterparts to review ongoing projects, determine opportunities for strengthened cooperation, confluence and synergies on the ground, and discuss the strategic outline for the year ahead.

In concluding the meeting, SRAP Grossman noted with satisfaction the depth and strength of U.S. – Turkish cooperation on Afghanistan, as shown by the broad spectrum of current and prospective joint activities and the common strategic vision on the way forward. The two delegations agreed to follow up on a number of specific joint initiatives, including by continuing annual bilateral consultations, and by closely coordinating work in Kabul as well as in the framework of the UN, NATO, and the International Contact Group.

Akçapar expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the U.S. Government’s invitation and reiterated Turkey’s determination to continue to work towards a peaceful, secure and sovereign Afghanistan and the prosperity of the Afghan people – that is a critical element of forging a stable and prosperous South Asia.