Discussions between UfM Secretary General Sijilmassi and Turkish Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Transport focused on possible ways of operational cooperation between Turkey and the Secretariat of the UfM, especially in the area of transport.
UfM Secretary General, Fathallah Sijilmassi, paid an official visit to Turkey on 13-14 March 2013. During the visit, he held talks with H.E. Binali Yildirim, Minister of Transport, and H.E. Ahmed Davutoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs. He also visited the Turkish International Cooperation Agency (TIKA).
During the meeting with H.E. Davutoglu, the Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister reiterated the importance of regional coordination and stressed the role of the UfM in this respect. He also underlined the need for the development of tangible projects with concrete results in the region and extended Turkey’s full support to the UfM efforts. Minister Davutoglu further stated that the regional stability had a particular significance for Turkey and all efforts made by the UfM in this regard would also receive Turkey’s support.
Minister Yildirim underlined the close cooperation between his Ministry and the UfM Secretariat in the field of transport and stressed the importance of developing concrete projects which will benefit the trade and economic development in the Mediterranean region. Following their discussions, it was agreed to develop a comprehensive Motorways of the Sea project with the aim to link the port of Izmir (Turkey) to one port in each of the following countries: Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya. Both sides agreed to start the work on the development of this project in close cooperation with the four Mediterranean countries.
The meeting with the Turkish International Cooperation Agency (TIKA) was an opportunity to exchange views on the existing synergies and possibilities of collaboration between the Secretariat of the UfM and the agency. Secretary General Sijilmassi stated that this operational collaboration would facilitate delivery of projects aimed at contributing towards economic and social development in the Mediterranean region.
Secretary General Sijilmassi expressed his gratitude for the active support received from Turkey and stressed the importance of regional integration, which is one of the primary goals of the UfM.