Talat Visits 'Islamabad' as TRNC President By Suleyman Kurt, Ankara
Monday, September 04, 2006
President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Mehmet Ali Talat arrived in Pakistan on his first official visit to the country. “State protocol” will be implemented for Talat who was invited by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf five months ago.
Talat first met with U.S. State Secretary Condoleezza Rice in Washington, followed by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin and then with British Foreign Minister Jack Straw as the “leader of the Cypriot Turks.”
Ankara and Nicosia have been trying to hold “official visits” on every level with some visits announced at the very last moment due to Greek pressure.
Pakistan’s invitation was announced in April during Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri’s Ankara visit. The visit was postponed due to Talat’s health.
With a consensus reached by Nicosia and Islamabad after ongoing contacts, Talat was “officially” invited to Pakistan. President Talat has never paid an official visit to any country other than Turkey and Talat’s Pakistan visit is important in this regard.
As part of his 2-day contacts in Pakistan, which started Monday, Talat will meet with the Parliament Speaker Cavduri Hussein, Education Minister Cavid Esref and Tourism Minister Nilufer Bahtiyar along with President Musharraf.
TRNC sources indicated that “state protocol” would be implemented during Talat’s Pakistan visit. Talat’s wife, Oya Talat, will accompany the president during his visit and will meet with Federal Minister for Women Development Sumaira Malik, and Musharraf’s wife, Sehba Musharraf.
During his contacts, Talat will seek support for the TRNC and discuss the fields in which both countries can cooperate.
TRNC Foreign Minister Serdar Denktas had paid a visit to Pakistan following the devastating earthquake that hit the country in October 2005, bringing with him 10 tons of aid.
TRNC Presidency sources indicate that Talat has attached great importance to “foreign policy” since his inauguration. “The Pakistan visit is the outcome of this policy. There is huge interest from the international community regarding these policies. There is interest both from Europe and outside Europe,” the presidency sources admitted, stressing that “surprises” could occur at any level.
The official visit of TRNC officials was not announced publicly until the very last moment in order to prevent the Greek side from raising objections about any visits. Although Ankara and Nicosia continue their efforts to organize official visits, the details of any such visits are not disclosed.
Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht who visited the island in 2006, was prevented by the Greek Cypriots to meet with the TRNC administration.
Previously, Greeks dissuaded South African country Gambia, which had announced that it would recognize the TRNC, by pledging financial aid for the country.
Source : Zaman