Turkey announces 20 mln USD assistance for Pakistan's war-displaced persons

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Visiting Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday announced 20 million U.S. dollars of assistance for the rehabilitation of the people displaced as the result of military operation in the North Waziristan tribal region.

Officials say that nearly 1 million people were uprooted after the security forces launched a major offensive against the Taliban and other militant groups in the region.

The government has planned to start phased repatriation of the temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) next month. The process will take one year to complete, officials say.

The authorities have previously estimated that 1.4 billion dollars will be needed initially for the repatriation and rehabilitation of the TDPs.

The Turkish prime minister, speaking at a joint press conference along with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad, said his country will extend 20 million dollars for the displaced persons.

The two prime ministers also condemned the misuse of the media to defame religion.

"We decided we will not allow any attempt to vilify Islam and justify sacrilegious cartoons in the name of freedom of expression, " said the Pakistani prime minister, noting they met in the backdrop of the Paris attack and its aftermath.

Ahmet Davutoglu lauded Pakistan's efforts to establish peace and stability in Afghanistan as peace and stability in Afghanistan is peace and stability in Turkey and Pakistan. He also appreciated Pakistan's efforts to improve its relations with India.

The two sides held official talks and discussed ways and means to enhance cooperation in diverse fields including economy, trade, energy, communications, education, culture and tourism.

They signed 11 addition agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to strengthen their relations in different areas. Both the prime ministers witnessed the signing ceremony.

Nawaz Sharif hoped that Pakistan and Turkey will soon finalize a free trade agreement to further enhance trade and economic activities. He urged to establish better transportation links between the two countries.

The Turkish prime minister also held a meeting with Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif, during which the two discussed " matters related to regional security and bilateral security and defense cooperation and collaboration between two brotherly countries."

The military said the Turkish prime minister appreciated the successes achieved by Pakistan in the operation in the ongoing military offensive in North Waziristan.

"We stand by our brothers. Pakistan's security is Turkish security and Pakistan's flag is Turkish flag," an army statement quoted the Turkish prime minister as saying. Endi

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