Today's Zaman, Turkey
Jan 4 2008

Gül, Bush to discuss strengthening strategic partnership

President Abdullah Gül will become the first Turkish president in 11
years to visit the US next week, where he is scheduled to discuss
bilateral ties and ways to strengthen the strategic partnership
between the two NATO allies with President George W. Bush.

In addition to Bush, Gül is also expected to meet with Vice President
Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense
Secretary Robert Gates during his visit on Jan. 7-11. The invitation
for the visit was extended by the US side, officials said.
Five minutes after Gül took over his post, Bush phoned him to
congratulate and invite him to Washington, a Turkish official close
to the issue said yesterday. The same official dismissed media claims
that Bush will have only a brief meeting with Gül, just before he
departs for a tour of the Middle East, and said the length of the
talks would be standard.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said talks would
cover a number of issues including the Palestinian conflict, Iran's
nuclear program and the situation in Lebanon, Afghanistan and
Pakistan. But the main focus of Gül's meetings will be Turkish-US
ties. The Turkish side is expected to raise the issue of efforts in
the US Congress to pass a resolution recognizing Armenian claims of
genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire and ask the US
administration to continue with its efforts to prevent the resolution
>From being passed.

After talks with top members of the US administration, Gül will meet
with UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon in New York and discuss
prospects to restart UN-led efforts to reunite Cyprus. He will also
meet former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Richard
Holbrooke, a former US assistant secretary of state, as well as
representatives of Jewish American groups, including the influential
Anti-Defamation League. Gül is expected to meet representatives of
Meskhetian Turks living in the US as well in New York.

Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Energy Minister Hilmi Güler, Economy
Minister Mehmet ªimºek and a general from the General Staff will
accompany Gül during his visit. The last time a Turkish president
visited Washington was in 1996, during the term of former President
Süleyman Demirel.


Süleyman Kurt Ankara

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress