Davutoglu set to attend Kabul conference today
In Istanbul yesterday before leaving for a four-day official visit covering Syria, Afghanistan and Vietnam, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters about this week's conference in Kabul set to discuss ways to improve security in war-torn Afghanistan, as well as to reintegrate insurgents into society and curb widespread corruption, which remain a major obstacle to the country functioning well. Davutoglu said Turkey believes there are three conditions for ensuring stability in Afghanistan: various ethnic and sectarian groups stepping up efforts for economic development in line with a national consensus, improving relations with neighboring and regional countries, and the international community giving the country stronger support. The foreign ministers of 44 countries, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are attending the conference. On Turkey's fight against a recent wave of attacks by the terrorist PKK, Davutoglu said the terrorist group supports itself financially by engaging in illegal international activities such as drug and human trafficking. Davutoglu urged allied countries to stand with Turkey in its fight against the terrorist group without hesitation. In related news, according to UN Envoy in Afghanistan Staffan de Mistura, Turkey's presence in the war-torn country is vital because it helps the international community to convey to the Afghan people that they have no interest in changing Afghanistan's culture or religion. Stopping over in Syria yesterday for a brief visit, Davutoglu met with Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Turkish counterpart Walid al-Muallem. The subjects of talled peace talks between Syria and Israel, the Middle East, and Iraq dominated Davutoglu's talks with top Syrian officials. They also agreed to step up pressure for Israel to end its embargo on Gaza. In Damascus, Davutoglu also discussed with Assad and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri a quartet cooperation agreement signed by Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan in Istanbul. Turkey played an active role in the normalization of Syrian-Lebanese relations.