Trilateral summit: Agreements, but no breakthrough in Istanbul

Published: November 1, 2011

Turkish President Abdullah Gul (L), President Asif Ali Zardari (C) and Afghan President Hamid Karzai (R) wave from Ciragan Palace after their meeting in Istanbul. PHOTO: AFP

Turkish President Abdullah Gul (L), President Asif Ali Zardari (C) and Afghan President Hamid Karzai (R) wave from Ciragan Palace after their meeting in Istanbul. PHOTO: AFP Turkish President Abdullah Gul (C), his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari (R) and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai (L) pose after their joint press conference in Istanbul on November 1, 2011. PHOTO: AFP

ISTANBUL: A trilateral summit between Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan found some common ground between Islamabad and Kabul – but, at the same time, served to highlight the continued distrust between the neighbours ahead of an international conference on Afghanistan’s future to start today in Istanbul.

During the trilateral summit, it was decided that a “joint mechanism” would be evolved to investigate the assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, Afghanistan’s top peace maker by an alleged Taliban emissary – an incident that has caused immense distrust in relations between the two neighbours.

However, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s comments suggested the two were far from resolving their differences despite three-way talks between the presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey.

“We have been hurt badly, our desire for peace has been either misunderstood or misused and we have learnt a lesson from the manner in which we pursued the peace process,” Karzai said.

Speaking at a press conference followed by the summit in Istanbul, Afghan President Hamid Karzai again ruled out peace talks with the Taliban until he knew how to contact the group, saying that until then Afghanistan would talk only to Pakistan.

“We cannot keep talking to suicide bombers, therefore we have stopped talking about talking to the Taliban until we have an address for the Taliban … until that day we have said we will be talking to our brothers in Pakistan to find a solution to the problem that we have,” Karzai said.

The summit was dominated by Afghanistan’s push for Pakistan to “move beyond words” and take concrete steps to curb militants which it said were a threat to both countries. The two neighbours were holding their first talks since the assassination of the chief Afghan peace negotiator.

Afghan President Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari met along with Turkish President Abdullah Gul while their army chiefs also consulted.

During a press briefing following the talks, President Zardari cautioned that there was a need for a regional solution to the Afghanistan issue, adding that the situation was very complex and no quick results should be expected.

The leaders also discussed possibility of forming a Commission at Foreign Ministers’ level to identify problems confronting the region, preparing a programme for their resolution and ensuring follow up.

Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting in Istanbul that Afghanistan and Pakistan had been trying for several years to build trust “but I think we have failed to see results on the ground”.

“So we are at a stage where we need to move beyond words, beyond expressions of commitments. We need to get to a stage where we actually do concrete things that will address our concerns with regards to our security,” he said.

Ludin said Islamabad’s cooperation was vital to the security of Afghanistan but also to Pakistan – which has also faced a wave of bombings by the Pakistani Taliban.

“So the message we are really bringing today is to tell Pakistan, ‘Look, you’re not doing us a favour by helping with bringing peace and security to Afghanistan … It’s a question of peace and security in Pakistan that’s also suffering at the hands of terrorism.’”

On Tuesday, Karzai’s spokesman reiterated Afghan concerns that Pakistan was supporting the militants. “President Karzai’s message is that Pakistan needs to end using radicalism as a tool in their politics,” said Emal Fayzi.

Three agreements were also signed during the trilateral summit. One agreement pertained to a currency Swap between Pakistan and Turkey, which was signed by Governor of State Bank of Pakistan Yaseen Anwar and Governor Central Bank of Turkey Dr Erdem Basci on behalf of their respective countries. An agreement on joint military training and exercises between the militaries of Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan was signed by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani from Pakistan, General Necdet Ozal from Turkey and General Shah Muhammad Kairimi from Afghanistan.

The third agreement also pertained to training cooperation. It was signed by Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Turkish Interior Minister Idress Naeem Shaheen and Afghan Interior Minister Bismillah Khan Muhammadi.

The trilateral talks will be followed by a regional conference on Afghanistan to be attended by Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and their counterparts from France and Germany, among others.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cancelled her trip because of the ill health of her mother.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Hassan
    Nov 1, 2011 - 10:55PM

    Great work President Zardari!


  • anwar
    Nov 1, 2011 - 11:13PM

    Great what? for showing up for the flight to Istanbul?@Hassan:


  • Cautious
    Nov 1, 2011 - 11:36PM

    Great picture – the only thing those three have in common is that none of them are really looking after the best interest of the Afghan’s.


  • Organization of Pure Profit
    Nov 2, 2011 - 12:16AM

    Zardari hold those hands tight. Those hands got future of 3 nations. Nations have cash too.


  • Saboor
    Nov 2, 2011 - 12:58AM

    Karzai sure love that green thing he wears 24/7 :)


  • asma@Pakistan
    Nov 2, 2011 - 2:15AM

    Hamid Karzai, can he be trusted? The country never supported Pakistan in war against India. In fact all the mess relating to drugs, guns, dacoities and robberies are the rewards to Pakistan for giving refuge to Afghanis! Can we trust them? Everybody who think with their minds know that Afghanis prefer India to Pakistan. Recommend

  • Parvez+Mahmud
    Nov 2, 2011 - 3:30AM

    Is there a plan for peace all afghans can agree on? Karzai you are the president, bring a plan all only then you ask others to help.


  • Hina khokhar
    Nov 2, 2011 - 3:59AM

    nice teeeth


  • Chulbul Pandey
    Nov 2, 2011 - 4:41AM

    @Saboor: Karzai sure love that green thing he wears 24/7 :)
    Ha ha! Makes him look like a Islamic Super Man :D :DRecommend

  • Chulbul Pandey
    Nov 2, 2011 - 4:49AM

    Pakistan committed to work closely with neighbors? Oh boy :( Does that mean they are gonna start training and sending terrorists all the way to Istanbul too?


  • Tauseef
    Nov 2, 2011 - 4:50AM

    Yes, I can see…the country’s army chiefs met separately. Think that’s where the real matters would be decided.


  • Pundit
    Nov 2, 2011 - 6:19AM

    The meetings were at:
    Presidential Level
    Military Chief Level
    Foreign Minister Level
    Interior Minister Level
    Bank Chief Level
    and Allah knows what other levels.
    >What a waste of time and money!Recommend

  • Pundit
    Nov 2, 2011 - 6:20AM

    ““President Karzai’s message is that Pakistan needs to end using radicalism as a tool in their politics,” said Emal Fayzi.”

    Waiting for the Denial…….


  • Pundit
    Nov 2, 2011 - 6:21AM

    Your Headlines: “Trilateral summit: Agreements, but no breakthrough in Istanbul”

    My headline:”Trilateral summit: Disagreements, and no breakthrough in Istanbul”


  • Pundit
    Nov 2, 2011 - 6:23AM

    Talks without Trust

    “Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting in Istanbul that Afghanistan and Pakistan had been trying for several years to build trust “but I think we have failed to see results on the ground”.”


  • Only Sane
    Nov 2, 2011 - 9:54AM

    I feel pity for the rest of two in the pic..bad luck boys..


  • Pundit
    Nov 2, 2011 - 10:03AM

    Turkish Cuisine and hospitality are so good….when is the next trilateral?


  • vasan
    Nov 2, 2011 - 10:25AM

    IF u do not have trust in Afgans, how did u go for a strategic depth there? Why would Afgan’s opinion about India matter to you. U should be concerned about their opinion about Pakistan, which I am afraid is not very complimentary. I guess you should try and win their confidence by good measures and not to worry about India .


  • commonsense
    Nov 2, 2011 - 12:50PM

    If you do not think afghan opinion about pakistan is not complimentary then why does US and Afghanistan need pakistan for any talks to suceed in aghanistan? For your kind information, India signed strategic depth with Karzai not Afghanistan. Karzai is not = Afghanistan, he is not even = Kabul, because he cant even manage the security within his greenzone compound. Trust me fates of Pakistan and Afghanistan are united in religion, culture and history and the fact that the share a common Pashtun link. The only hurdle and problem being created is by Karzai, which doesn’t worry us because hes not going to last too long. Its not for us to worry but you.


  • antanu g
    Nov 2, 2011 - 3:14PM

    who gives a damn to karzai? he keeps chabging his opinions every six hours.


  • Nov 3, 2011 - 3:28AM

    why don’t you ask yourself why afghans trust Indians!


  • Dr. Moeed Pirzada
    Nov 3, 2011 - 2:48PM

    @Dr. Priyanka: perhaps you also need to consider that the Northern Alliance power arrangement put in place in Kabul after 9/11 was pro-India, was heavily invested by India and there is a huge chunk of Afghanistan that exists beyond this arrangement, that is why there is an unending insurgency and once Afghanistan achieves a more balanced and inclusive power arrangement things will look and sound different.


  • Qalander Mahsud
    Nov 19, 2011 - 12:54AM

    Every one knows who is responsible for the present situation in Afghanistan. Who is the patronage of extremists , historically? Who had supported the today’s militants and radicals against the Ex Soviet Union in Afghanistan? Who was initially behind the Taliban movement ? Who support the militants on one side and the governments on the other in Afghanistan as well Pakistan? Militancy can not be fought with arms, its a social phenomena , and this war could be won only through social change. The Pushtoon is the only main victim of the Bush and now Pbama wars on terror. Why the US should not know that Pushtoon can not be won over through wars and force, despite the fact that they are claimed as good researchers of the globe.There is a question to be analysed – have they(US) been trapped by the most trusted friend – the UK – by involving them in such vicious circles ? Let us assume that the positive thinking will over come the negative and the world would be saved from more Bushes and Obamas.


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