Minister Cannon Concludes Productive Meeting with Friends of Democratic Pakistan in Istanbul

(No. 235 - August 26, 2009 - 7:10 p.m. EDT) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, led a delegation to the Friends of Democratic Pakistan Ministerial Meeting on August 25, 2009, in Istanbul, Turkey.

"Canada’s participation in the Friends of Democratic Pakistan meeting reaffirmed our commitment, in partnership with the international community, to work with the Government of Pakistan and its people to build a secure and prosperous future and contribute to global security," said Minister Cannon. "Pakistan is a critical player in the region, and this kind of strategic collaboration is vital."

The meeting, co-chaired by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi of Pakistan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, focused on a strategy presented by Pakistan for socio-economic development in the Malakand District in the North West Frontier Province, as well as on strategic issues concerning stability in the country overall.

During the meeting, Minister Cannon noted Canada’s support for the Malakand strategy and underlined its commitment to strengthening democratic institutions, fostering socio-economic development, and broadening security and stability in Pakistan. In addition, the Minister highlighted Canada’s $33-million contribution in humanitarian assistance to Pakistan since 2008. The Minister also called attention to substantive Canadian contributions to border-management programming between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

While in Istanbul, Minister Cannon met privately with his Turkish counterpart, Minister Davutoglu, to exchange views on a wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues of importance to Canada and Turkey.

"I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet with a key ally, partner and friend of Canada," said Minister Cannon.

The Minister also met with Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki of Iran to call for the immediate release of Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari.

Canada has previously called for the release of all unjustified detainees in Iran, including Mr. Bahari, and demanded that Mr. Bahari have immediate consular access, full legal rights and protection, and that the allegations against him be clarified.

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