Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday stressed the need for Pakistan and Uzbekistan to undertake joint measures including promotion of business linkages and interaction among their corporate sectors to realize the full potential of bilateral trade and economic relations.Talking to Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan Vladimir Norov at Aiwan-e-Sadr, the President said Pakistan attaches great importance to cementing bilateral and trade relations with Uzbekistan.
He said the democratic government believes in opening a new chapter of relationship with Central Asian States especially Uzbekistan, based on mutual interests and cooperation.
“We must take full advantage of our geographic proximity, shared cultural heritage to enhance cooperation in trade, commerce and culture,” the President emphasized.
He said the vision of the government of establishing energy and infrastructure connectivity with Central Asian Republics can only be materialized through enhancing multifaceted cooperation for the mutual interests of both the countries. He said Uzbekistan has an important role to play in promoting peace and security of the region. Being contiguous neighbor of Afghanistan, another brotherly country, Uzbekistan cannot only contribute towards peace and stability,but also development of transport and energy corridor which would facilitate promotion of economic stability and peace of the region, the President remarked.
President Zardari said that Pakistan offers most convenient and suitable medium for Uzbekistan for promoting and boosting its economy by taking full advantage of the Gwader Port facility. He said the trade between two countries which stands at around US $15.06 million as per year 2008-9 figures is yet to realize its true potential.
President Zardari during his meeting with the Uzbek Foreign Minister also said that Pakistan desires to have full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to strengthen Pakistan’s engagement with the organization for promoting peace and development in the region. It may be noted that Uzbekistan currently holds the chair of SCO.
The President said that Pakistan would appreciate Uzbekistan support to Pakistan in this regard. He said that being a key player in the international war against terror, Pakistan is ready to be associated with SCO’s Regional Counter-Terrorism structure which is currently based in Tashkent.
Uzbek ambassador Mr. Oybek Arif Usmanov and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Malik Ammad Ahmed Khan were also present during the meeting besides senior officials.