ANKARA

The Turkish and Rwandan foreign ministers discussed bilateral and regional issues in a meeting in Turkey’s capital Ankara on Tuesday.

Speaking at a joint news conference, Mevlut Cavusoglu said the two countries signed memorandums of understanding on cooperation in the areas including sports, education, and industry.

He said there is room to improve bilateral economic relations, and that his Rwandan counterpart Vincent Biruta met Turkish business people on the sidelines of his visit to Turkey.

“Our bilateral trade volume is around $81 million, an increase compared to 2019 despite the coronavirus pandemic, but still it’s not at the level that we desire,” said Cavusoglu. “Rwanda offers great opportunities to our companies and we see our businesses are taking that opportunity.”

Cavusoglu said they will work for Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s visit to Ankara in the near future, adding that they also plan to hold a business forum during the potential visit.

On the fight against Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, Cavusoglu thanked Rwanda for shutting down FETO-run schools in the country.

Preparations to reopen the schools under the management of Turkey’s Maarif Foundation are underway, he said.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in Turkey, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.

After the defeated coup, Turkey established the Maarif Foundation to assume the administration of overseas schools linked to FETO, which the terrorist group has used as a revenue stream.

Biruta thanked Turkey for its help during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic last year by sending protective equipment.

He said both countries are committed to working closely for a more peaceful and secure world.

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