Turkish PM to host Arab leaders on US trip eve

Turkish PM to host Arab leaders on US trip eve

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish PM to host Arab leaders on US trip eve

AA Photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet leaders of the Arab Spring countries to discuss recent political developments in the Middle East and northern Africa only days before his crucial visit to Washington May 16.

Erdoğan will host prime ministers and other senior political leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Yemen at a breakfast on May 10 on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) that will take place in Istanbul on May 10-11.

“The meeting of the prime minister with visiting leaders is aiming at reviewing the developments in the Middle East and in the North Africa. It’s going to create a good opportunity for these leaders to exchange views,” diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News.

According to sources, one of the main issues to be discussed during the meeting will be enhancing economic cooperation between these countries and evaluating the chance for sound peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

The meeting will take place only days before Erdoğan’s scheduled visit to Washington where he is set to meet U.S. President Barack Obama. As the turmoil in Syria continues, projections for a new round of peace talks between Israel and Palestine and other regional developments will be on their agenda, Erdoğan’s meeting with leaders of key countries will be very important in reflecting the regional climate to Obama.

Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia are confirmed to be represented at the level of prime minister while participation from Morocco and Yemen still requires confirmation, sources maintained. Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia are known as SEMED (Southern and Eastern Mediterranean) countries at the EBRD. The SEMED is the latest region in which the Bank is working to boost economic and democratic change.

Erdoğan and prime ministers of SEMED are expected to address the opening session of the EBRD annual meeting on Friday. Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia have all asked to become EBRD countries of operation, requests which will require the Bank’s founding articles to be ratified accordingly.

Bilateral talks with Egypt

While here, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil is also expected to carry out a bilateral visit to Turkey. He will meet with Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül in Istanbul in order to exchange views on bilateral political and economic relations as well as regional developments. Turkey and Egypt have intensified their relations since the revolution concluded with the election of Mohamed Morsi as the first Egyptian president elected by the votes of the Egyptian people in fair polls.

EBRD focus on Arab Spring countries

This year’s EBRD meeting is expected to focus on Arab Spring countries. The EBRD launched its first investments in Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco in September 2012 after they were granted the status of potential recipient countries, while the first project in Egypt was approved by the Board of Directors in December 2012, according to the info posted on the bank’s website.

All four nations, in their different ways, emerged from the events of the Arab Spring in 2011 with more accountable political systems and plans to reform their economies.

All of them will need to demonstrate their commitment to, and observance of, the principles of multiparty democracy, pluralism and market economics, as laid down in the Bank’s statutes.