Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pakistan, Maldives to expand trade, economic relations

Pakistan and Maldives on Wednesday agreed to expand their bilateral relations especially in trade, communication and manpower training. It was agreed when Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani held a meeting with President of Maldives Mohammad Nasheed here at the beautiful resort on the sidelines of 17th SAARC Summit. Members of the delegation of Pakistan including Interior Minister A. Rehman Malik, Minister for Communication Dr Arbab Alamgir and Minister for Shipping and Port Babar Ghauri were also present in the meeting.

Prime Minister Gilani appreciated the arrangements being made by Maldives for organizing the 17th SAARC summit and thanked for the hospitality given to the members of the Pakistan delegation.

The Prime Minister told the President of Maldives that he will discuss all issues with his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh including Kashmir when he will meet him tomorrow on the sidelines of SAARC summit.

He said improvement of relations between Pakistan and India are important and SAARC could be made more effective and result oriented with the better Pak-India relations.

The Prime Minister said there had been meetings between the Foreign Ministers, Interior Ministers, Commerce Ministers of Pakistan and India to improve relations in these fields and now Commerce Secretaries of the two countries will meet this month to improve trade and economic activities.

Talking about the theme of the summit - Build Bridges, the Prime Minister said connectivity is the most important thing and he emphasised the need to improve it.

Prime Minister Gilani appreciated the role of President Maldives in the recently held Commonwealth Summit in Australia where President Mohammad Nasheed was very vocal, articulate and convincing.

The Maldivian President told the Prime Minister Gilani that Islam came to Maldives through Pakistan during 1147 AD adding “Our region, concept and vision are common”.

He said connectivity can play vital role in improving the economic and trade activities, therefore special emphasis should be given on this sector.

The President of Maldives said once PIA had regular flights to Maldives which should be resumed for improving connectivity.

He told the Prime Minister that there is vast scope for import of vegetable, fruit and other products from Pakistan.

The President of Maldives told Prime Minister Gilani that he had the vision to steer out of a situation and seize the opportunity for improving the bilateral relations with India. He also congratulated Pakistan for being elected member of the Security Council.

He told the Prime Minister that Pakistan’s mangoes are very delicious and he had been receiving these mangoes when he was in jail and hoped that these mangoes will keep coming to Maldives.

The Prime Minister told him that he would send him Pakistani mangoes.


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