Diplomatic: (Pakistan, Tajikistan agree to further expand bilateral ties)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Tajikistan have agreed to further expand their cooperation in diverse fields including energy, defence, security, education and culture.

This was stated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon at a joint press stakeout after their meeting here on Thursday.

The Prime Minister said Pakistan attaches great significance to early completion of CASA-1000 project. He said once the project is completed, it will prove a milestone to give further boost to our bilateral relations that will also greatly help meeting Pakistan’s energy needs.

The Prime Minister said he shared his vision for peaceful neighbourhood which is essential for social economic development of our people. He said the two countries have common stance to root out terrorism from the region to increase engagements at all levels.

Nawaz Sharif said they have held cordial and fruitful discussion on all dimensions of bilateral relations. They exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual concern. He said they have harmonious views on the issues that came under discussion.

Tajik President said both the countries have agreed on promotion of investment and exchange of delegations. He said the two sides reiterated their commitment to enhance cooperation in security, defence, energy, culture, science and technology.

He said that two sides also increase people to people contacts between the two countries. He said agreements and MOUs signed on Thursday will prove a milestone in relations between the two countries.

Earlier, Pakistan and Tajikistan held delegation level talks here on Thursday to explore ways to promote bilateral cooperation in diverse fields. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif led the Pakistani delegation while President Emomali Rahmon led the Tajik side.

The two sides discussed ways and means to enhance cooperation in energy, security, trade, cultural and communication fields. They exchanged views to increase contacts on people to people basis between the two countries and exchange of delegations.

They also discussed matters relating to counter terrorism and controlling human and drug smuggling. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan wants strong trade and economic relations with Tajikistan.

He said they want early implementation of CASA-1000 project, which is important to overcome energy shortage in the country. He said Pakistan also want to increase ground and air contacts with Tajikistan.

Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan gives extreme importance to its relations with Central Asian Republics. On the occasion, Tajik President stressed the need for enhancing people to people contacts between the two countries.

Later, Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon also held one-on-one meeting and discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral relations particularly in the areas of trade, energy and connectivity.

The two leaders emphasized on close collaboration between Pakistan and Tajikistan at the levels of governments and people for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

Nawaz Sharif emphasized establishment of air links between Pakistan and Tajikistan on priority basis. He expressed satisfaction that bilateral trade has steadily risen to 15 million dollars in 2011 to 89 million dollars in 2014.

He said Pakistan is keen for implementation of CASA-1000 project and expressed hope that the project would be completed by 2018. Tajik President Rahmon endorsed the Prime Minister for enhanced steps to further strengthen ties in areas of trade, energy, communication, security and defence, and people-to-people contacts.

On his arrival, Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon was given official reception at the Prime Minister House. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif warmly greeted the Tajik President. The Tajik President was given a guard of honour. He inspected the guard of honour. National anthems of the two countries were also played.