Pakistan, Tajikistan agree to strengthen economic cooperation

* Sign agreements, MoUs for enhancing bilateral cooperation in different areas

DUSHANBE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that Pakistan and Tajikistan have agreed to strengthen economic cooperation by optimally utilizing the present and new institutional mechanisms and intensifying private sector interface.  
Speaking at the joint press stake-out along with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, he said that as both Pakistan and Tajikistan moved forward, they would expand mutual cooperation in diverse fields including energy, security, education, culture, and people-to-people exchanges. The Prime Minister said both sides held wide-ranging consultations — covering a whole spectrum of bilateral, regional and international issues. 
He said both sides agreed that there was a vast potential to be harnessed for mutually-beneficial collaboration in many fields. Bilateral trade between the two countries has grown significantly in recent years, the Prime Minister said and added that through mutual efforts, it can be sustained and further increased. The Prime Minister said that both the countries signed a number of agreements and memorandum of understandings (MoUs) for enhancing bilateral cooperation in different areas. 
“It is important for our socio-economic development to eliminate the scourge of extremism and terrorism. Today, we reaffirmed our commitment to maintain and further increase our high level of cooperation to counter these threats,” the Prime Minister said. He said Pakistan and Tajikistan were also concerned about the menace of narcotics drugs, cross-border organized crimes, and human trafficking and had resolved to collectively fight against these evils. 
In the regional context, the Prime Minister said the leadership of both the countries conferred on the situation in Afghanistan - our brotherly country at a crucial juncture in its history, particularly post-2014. He said that Pakistan wishes well for their Afghan brothers, as they go through the security, political and economic transitions, adding that a peaceful, stable and unified Afghanistan remains vital for peace and stability for the region. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said both the countries agreed to intensify their mutual consultations on Afghanistan, while both would continue to support an inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. 
He said the two countries cooperate closely in the UN, OIC, ECO and SCO and reiterated their mutual desire to deepen this cooperation. He said parliaments of the two countries were interacting closely and reinforcing the efforts of the two governments for closer ties. He said that this visit was also a manifestation of strong desire to further deepen and broaden bilateral relations with Tajikistan, as an integral part of our vision to comprehensively enhance Pakistan’s engagement with Central Asia. He said this visit has provided us an opportunity to reflect on our common goals of progress and prosperity and the development of infrastructure and connectivity for regional integration.  
He said both the countries attached great importance to early completion of CASA-1000 project, which would enable Pakistan to import 1,000 MW of electricity from Tajikistan to meet its growing energy needs. The Prime Minister said that Tajikistan was our closest neighbour in Central Asia. It is located at the confluence of South and Central Asia and is a gateway to the CIS region, he said, adding, similarly, Pakistan offers the shortest possible route to Tajikistan and other counties in the region to our sea-ports. He said the forward-looking vision of Pakistan further elevating the Pakistan-Tajikistan strategic relationship aims to build on these natural advantages.

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