Turkey, Egyp set to launch strategic cooperation
Turkey and Egypt will set up a high-level strategic cooperation council to enhance bilateral political and economic ties, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced yesterday. "We hope to sign the accord and hold the first meeting of the council when our prime minister visits Egypt in the coming months," Davutoglu said after talks with his visiting Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Abul Gheit. The council would bring together the two countries' premiers and a number of senior Cabinet ministers. Saying that the two countries are also determined to boost bilateral trade from its current level of $3.5 billion, Davutoglu added that discussions on cultural cooperation are also underway. Gheit hailed the agreement as "a very constructive step," saying he hoped it would "take bilateral relations to a higher level." The two senior diplomats said they also discussed international efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, as well as Iran's nuclear program and developments in Lebanon and Iraq, AFP reported. Turkey has signed similar agreements with Russia, Greece, Syria and Iraq and describes the council gatherings as "joint Cabinet meetings."