Jul 29, 2009
Pak-Tajik strategic dialogue planned
Pakistan and Tajikistan on Wednesday agreed to initiate a strategic dialogue on regional peace, security and development, besides cooperation in energy sector.President Asif Ali Zardari and his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon in their wide-ranging talks held at Qasr-e-Millet - Palace of the Nation, also agreed to establish regional electricity networks and early implementation of the Central Asia South Asia 1,000 MW project. The two leaders also vowed to explore and establish transit and transportation corridors, including direct air flights to link the two countries. President Zardari, who is in the Central Asian Republic on a three-day visit, also had a joint press stakeout, along with his Tajik counterpart and termed terrorism and militancy as the biggest threat to the 21st century. “We stand together against this threat and have decided to cooperate in other areas as well,” President Zardari said. He said the two countries have agreed to enhance cooperation in banking and transportation sectors, with the sole intention to bring the two people closer. President Zardari and President Rahmon also stressed the importance of having greater interaction between the private sectors of the two countries. He said Tajikistan has rich natural resources and the two countries can gain a lot from increased cooperation. President Zardari said Tajikistan can make a use of Pakistan’s land routes and ports, which will bring trade and economic benefit to the nations. President Zardari and the Tajik president also had an exclusive meeting before the delegations of the two sides joined them at the bilateral talks.During the bilateral talks, President Zardari was assisted by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Minister for Industries and Production Mian Manzoor Ahmad Watoo, spokesman for the President Farhatullah Babar and senior officials. A joint statement issued at the end of the talks said the two countries will take joint measures to realise full potential of their bilateral trade and economic relations on mutually beneficial projects. The two countries also agreed on the need of expediting and establishing regional electricity networks. They stressed for early implementation of the CASA 1,000 MW project. “Both sides agreed to undertake further studies and measures needed for its implementation and invited international organisations and financial institutions to contribute funding to the project,” said the joint statement that was signed by the two leaders at a ceremony here after the talks.The foreign ministers of two countries also signed two bilateral documents, including a Protocol on the exchange of Instruments of Ratification of Agreement between Pakistan and Tajikistan on the Promotion and Protection of Investments; and an agreement for cooperation — in different areas of bilateral interest — between their ministries of foreign affairs for the years 2009-2012.The presidents of Pakistan and Tajikistan witnessed the signing of bilateral documents. Separately, the two sides also signed a framework cooperation agreement between the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Tajikistan Chamber of Industry for strengthening bilateral cooperation between the private sectors of the two countries. The Joint Statement said both President Zardari and President Rahmon expressed their desire to further improve brotherly relations and enhance mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries. The two leaders affirmed that strengthened Pak-Tajik bilateral relations will contribute to regional peace, security and development. The two sides also took into consideration the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, the May 2004 Joint Declaration of Pakistan and Tajikistan on further development of friendly relations as well as other bilateral documents. The two sides agreed that shared cultural affinities and historic experiences, economic complimentarities and geographic proximity have made Tajikistan and Pakistan virtual neighbours. Better relations were in mutual interest of both countries and region, the joint statement said. To comprehensively upgrade cooperation in all spheres and fields, the two sides will enter into an enhanced partnership based on the principles of the UN Charter, including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. The two countries agreed to initiate a strategic dialogue on regional peace, security and development, with a view to developing greater understanding on issues of common interest and mutual benefit. Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday said Pakistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan are resource-rich neighbours and there is a need to exploit these resources through mutual cooperation which will lead to region’s prosperity. Speaking at a banquet hosted by Tajik President Emomali Rahmon for the presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Asif Zardari said the friendship between the three countries will further strengthen regional cooperation. “It is ages old wisdom that you cannot change your neighbours. It is time for Central Asian countries and the countries of south Asia to sit together and improve their relations and enhance cooperation for the benefit to its peoples,” he said. “The three countries can make a difference in this world.” President Zardari appreciated Tajik President for the efforts which brought them together in Dushanbe and said the friendship of the three countries will go a long way in promoting regional cooperation and prosperity. “You will not find Pakistan lacking in all its endeavours,” the president remarked. He said Pakistan will cooperate in every way to augment the efforts for regional cooperation so that the three countries can realise their potential in economic and various other fields. And, President Asif Ali Zardari and Tajik Prime Minister Okil Okilov discussed bilateral relations and other matters of mutual interest, as the latter called on him here on Wednesday.The two sides discussed various issues of mutual interest with focus on strengthening their bilateral ties in diverse fields including trade, energy and communication and transportation.The two sides expressed their strong desire to bolster their bilateral relations through increased cooperation and collaboration in different fields and economy for mutual benefit of the two brotherly countries.Also, President Asif Ali Zardari held a meeting with the Chairman of Upper House (Majlis-e-Milli) of Tajikistan, Makhmadsaid Ubaiduloev here at the Parliament building on Wednesday and discussed bilateral as well as matters of mutual interest. During the meeting, the two sides stressed the need for increased cooperation between their parliaments and the exchange of parliamentary delegations to strengthen their historic ties and bring the parliamentarians of two countries closer. The Chairman of Tajik Upper House, who in Tajik system is number two in hierarchy after the President, briefed President Zardari about the functions of parliamentary institutions in Tajikistan particularly the Upper House.