Turkey, Japan agree to cooperate in Afghanistan

Katsuya Okada had talks with President Abdullah Gül.

January 06, 2010, Wednesday/ 17:41:00
Turkey and Japan have agreed to work together to improve security and political stability in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said after talks with his Japanese counterpart, Katsuya Okada.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Okada late on Monday, Davutoğlu said a widespread consensus must emerge between Afghan groups for stability to start taking root in the troubled country and announced Turkey’s backing of the Japanese government’s policy, which involves the reintegration of former members of the Taliban into society.

Japan has so far contributed $2 billion to help Afghanistan’s efforts to rebuild its agriculture, education and health sectors, Okada said. Japan is now planning to contribute up to $5 billion over the next five years to help with the country’s reconstruction. According to Okada, the Japanese strategy for Afghanistan also includes efforts to reintegrate former members of the Taliban into Afghan society and improve security.

“We believe there should be a comprehensive national accord in Afghanistan … and support Japanese policy in this regard,” Davutoğlu said. “We think we could work together to train the Afghan police force and that we can participate in joint economic development projects,” he added.

The two ministers also discussed Iran’s nuclear program and the Middle East peace process. Okada, who launched the “Japan Year 2010 in Turkey” together with Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay and addressed a meeting of Turkish diplomats later in the day, said Japan and Turkey agreed that Iran should not possess nuclear weapons, expressing hope that the issue be settled through diplomacy.

Praising Turkey’s bilateral ties with Japan, Davutoğlu said, “Turkey and Japan are two countries that are symbols of stability, prosperity and security on the eastern and the western side of the Asian continent.”

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