Babacan meets with his Romanian counterpart
Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday met with his visiting Romanian counterpart Lazar Comanescu in Ankara. Afterwards, Babacan told a joint press conference that they had discussed bilateral ties between the two countries, adding that Turkey and Romania enjoy very good relations. "Turkish-Romanian relations are based on mutual understanding and sound friendship," he added. "Bilateral trade between the two countries hit $7 billion last year, and this year will exceed $8 billion. Our two countries are also cooperating with each other in energy." For his part, Comanescu said that his country supports Turkey's EU accession bid, adding that Turkey's accession would make important contributions to the Union. Asked about talks held in Baghdad this week between Turkish, US and Iraqi officials, Babacan said that the meeting had been very important and fruitful. "During the meeting, the parties reaffirmed that the PKK is a terrorist group." On a recently signed security agreement between the US and Iraq, Babacan said under the pact the US will gradually withdraw its troops from Iraq in line with the reinforcement of Iraq's capacity for self-defense, and added, "This means that Iraq will get more involved in its own issues. There is nothing more natural than Iraq's further involvement in efforts so far seen against the terrorist PKK. We will see an intensified Iraqi presence in further efforts against the PKK." Asked about his coming meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, Babacan said, "Our goal in the Turkey-Armenia dialogue process is full normalization, but we need to take mutual steps to reach that point. There is a new atmosphere in the region towards solving ongoing disputes. This is a significant opportunity we shouldn't neglect."