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Wednesday July 17, 2024

Pakistan to facilitate Uzbek access to Gwadar, Karachi ports

By Mariana Baabar
March 11, 2021

By News Desk

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said Pakistan would facilitate Uzbekistan to get access to its seaports of Gwadar and Karachi in a bid to enhance regional connectivity and trade.

In a meeting with Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Abdlaziz Kamilov here at the PM House, the prime minister said Pakistan offered a shortest route to international seas to all Central Asian Republics including Uzbekistan and could prove as a gateway to landlocked Central Asia.

Imran Khan expressed Pakistan’s resolve to forge closer ties with Uzbekistan and other countries of Central Asia in areas of trade, investment, energy, and people-to-people exchanges. Expressing appreciation for the proposed Trans-Afghan Railway Project between Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, he underscored Pakistan’s commitment to support all efforts for the earliest realisation of the important connectivity project. Imran Khan fondly recalled his interactions with President Mirziyoyev in Beijing and Bishkek and reiterated his invitation to the Uzbek president to visit Pakistan at the earliest convenience. Underlining the historic and civilizational links between the two countries, the prime minister said that Pakistan highly valued its close fraternal ties with Uzbekistan and wished to deepen bilateral cooperation in all areas.

The prime minister particularly emphasized that enhanced trade and regional connectivity were the cornerstones of economic growth and development. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s steadfast support to the Afghan peace process, stressing the imperative of negotiated political solution.

Foreign Minister Kamilov conveyed cordial greetings of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and reiterated Uzbekistan’s commitment to expand bilateral cooperation with Pakistan in diverse fields. He also handed over a letter from President Mirziyoyev addressed to Prime Minister Imran Khan, inviting him to participate in a Central Asia-South Asia Connectivity Conference in Tashkent in July 2021.

The prime minister thanked for the invitation and mentioned that he was looking forward to visiting Uzbekistan.

Meanwhile, Abdulaziz Kamilov held delegation-level talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the Foreign Office.

“Views were exchanged on enhancement of economic cooperation, mutual support in international fora, regional connectivity and tourism promotion,” said the Foreign Office.

Outlining the vision of “Naya Pakistan” cantered around economic security, the foreign minister underlined the importance of shifting focus from geo-politics to geo-economics, to advance the goals of national economic development.

“Both Uzbekistan and Pakistan are also closely cooperating to enhance regional connectivity, especially by early construction of Trans-Afghan Railway Project between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan,” spokesman at the Foreign Office said.

“Foreign Minister Qureshi emphasised the importance of direct air connectivity to further trade and tourism. He also stressed facilitation of visas for businessmen and tourists,” said the Foreign Office.

Pakistan has welcomed the proposed “Re-connect Silk Route Conference” scheduled for July 2021. The event would help showcase Pakistani exports and products in Central Asia. Qureshi also underscored the importance of closer agricultural cooperation between the two countries, particularly in cotton seed sector.

Both sides expressed their firm resolve to boost high-level interactions to give impetus to the existing positive momentum in bilateral relations. It was agreed to maximally utilise the existing institutional mechanisms by regularly convening sessions of bilateral political consultations and joint ministerial commission.

The Foreign Office in a two-line mention said that Qureshi “underlined the grave and systemic human rights violations in IIOJ&K by Indian security forces”.

“Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed satisfaction at the level of cooperation between the two countries in the multilateral organisations such as the UN, OIC, ECO and SCO,” said the Foreign Office.

The foreign minister highlighted Pakistan’s positive role for the facilitation of Intra-Afghan negotiations, while reiterating Pakistan’s support to Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process culminating in an inclusive and broad-based political solution.

“Establishment of lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan would contribute to progress on various connectivity initiatives leading to regional prosperity,” added Qureshi.

Meanwhile, Abdulaziz Kamilov called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Rawalpindi.

According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) matters of mutual interest, overall regional situation, including Afghan peace process and bilateral cooperation in various fields were discussed.

Both sides reiterated the desire to further enhance bilateral relations including efforts for peace and security in the region.

The visiting dignitary appreciated Pakistan s positive role for regional peace and stability especially Afghan peace process and pledged to keep working for better relations between two brotherly countries.