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KING, TÜRKIYE PRESIDENT SET E95M TRADE TARGET

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ANTALYA,TURKIYE – His Majesty the King and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would like to see trade between the two countries grow beyond US$5 million (about E95 million) in the short to medium term.

It sits at around US$1.3 million (E24.8 million) at current exchange rates. This emerged during a bilateral meeting between the two leaders yesterday afternoon, shortly after the opening ceremony of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum (ADF), which is attended by heads of State and government ministers, academics, entrepreneurs, media, youth and delegates from numerous sectors.

The ADF seeks to find ways to better use diplomacy in the current state of affairs, through an interactive and thought-provoking platform. The president welcomed the kingdom’s condemnation of the 2016 attempted coup in Turkey, during which about 251 people died and more than 2 200 were wounded, while resisting rogue military units in the attempted overthrow of President Erdogan.

Resolve conflict

The King said Eswatini stood against any unconstitutional means of usurping power and shared the importance of dialogue to resolve conflict. He lamented the ongoing conflicts around the world, which have displaced numerous people and claimed hundreds of lives. He said that after World War II, there was hope that conflicts would be a thing of the past, but the challenge persists, which requires greater commitment from countries to ensure peace prevails globally.

On enhancing trade, the two leaders stressed the need to work towards creating closer bilateral ties that would also see support for key national development areas extended to Eswatini, while encouraging investment from Turkish businessmen.

During the deliberations, His Majesty outlined several areas of possible interest, describing Eswatini as an ideal location for business penetration into the region that offers access to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), among six other regional trade blocs.

He also shared the emerging opportunities in the mining sector, that have identified more mineral resources. The two leaders also touched on the possibilities in the education sector, with President Erdogan expressing support for the Maarif Education Foundation, which has shown keen interest in improving education in Eswatini.

Strategic

Cooperation in other areas, such as health, aviation and agriculture, was also discussed. He also touched on the ongoing strategic oil reserve project and the intention to import gas from Mozambique. Also among the investment opportunities is the energy independence objective.

The president extended his appreciation to the King for honouring the ADF invite to Antalya, which he said was a good tourism destination that he encouraged the King to explore. He further extended an invitation for a State visit to the King. In reciprocity, His Majesty also extended an invitation to the president, who said he had only travelled to Cape Town in the southern African region.

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