Pakistan, Qatar express their resolve to maintain strategic relationship

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Pakistan and Qatar have expressed their resolve to maintain strategic relationship and intensify cooperation in diverse fields especially trade and commerce‚ energy‚ agriculture‚ infrastructure and investment.
The understanding came during talks between President Asif Ali Zardari and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani in Doha. The two leaders first had one-on-one meeting followed by delegation level talks in which the President was assisted by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar‚ Advisor on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr. Asim Hussain and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Qatar Muhammad Sarfraz Ahmad Khanzada.
The two sides discussed in detail the current state of bilateral relations and agreed to upscale cooperation in various sectors to the mutual advantage.
President Asif Ali Zardari emphasized the need to increase the level of bilateral trade and hoped that the visit of the business delegations may give a boost to bilateral trade.
He said Pakistan would appreciate if Qatar extends support to our request for holding the third round of negotiations on Pak-Gulf Cooperation Council Free Trade Agreement. He urged Qatar to lobby with other GCC countries for early conclusion of the proposed FTA as it would further concretize the extraordinary ties between Pakistan and GCC countries.
The President said at present only three Qatari companies are operating in Pakistan and invited more Qatari companies to establish operations in Pakistan.
He said Pakistan would appreciate an early response on an MoU for Financial Assistance for Construction of National Highway and Motorway Infrastructure pending with your side.
He said Pakistan has a vibrant‚ stable and mature financial market and many foreign banks are doing good business in the country. Pakistan would welcome opening of Qatari Banks in the country. He said we believe that presence of Qatari banks in Pakistan would act as a catalyst for future bilateral economic cooperation.
The President said Pakistan is initiated a number of projects for meeting in energy requirement. It would welcome Qatar’s participation in the Neelum-Jehlum hydro power project.
He expressed happiness that Qatar Gas has signed an agreement with two Pakistan based gas companies. He said Pakistan brought out one of the most generous incentives regime through vibrant petroleum exploration and production policy 2012. He invited Qatari Petroleum and Gas Companies to take advantage of the new policy and invest in Oil and Gas exploration and production sector.
He said Pakistan could offer partnership in Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite System (PRSS) which will be built and launched in collaboration with China. He said we have recently launched our own Communication Satellite. It has available capacity which could be used by Qatar.
The President informed Emir of Qatar that Pakistan has great potential to meet growing manpower requirements of Qatar especially in the backdrop of infrastructure development being undertaken in connection with holding FIFA World Cup 2022 in Doha.
President Zardari reiterated invitation to the Emir of Qatar to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience as the visit was long overdue.
Turning to regional situation‚ he said Pakistan would continue to work with India to resolve all outstanding issues‚ peacefully and in a just manner. Pakistan is committed to constructive sustained and result-oriented process of engagement with India.
About Afghanistan‚ he said‚ Pakistan is working with the US for long-term political settlement in Afghanistan both bilaterally as well as through trilateral mechanism. Pakistan has been extending full support and cooperation to the international fight against terrorism‚ despite great human and economic sacrifices. Peace and stability in Afghanistan is in our national interest.
He said Pakistan fully supports the transition of security responsibilities from NATO to Afghan government by 2014. It is willing to provide all possible assistance for the reconciliation process which is extremely important for durable stability and peace in Afghanistan.
The President said Pakistan is deeply concerned over the continuing civil conflict and deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Syria which presents a challenge to the people of Syria as well as the international community.
He said “we strongly condemn the massacre of innocent civilians and call for an immediate end to the continuing bloodshed by all parties in Syria. It is important that the Syrian government and the opposition groups use restraint and settle all their differences through peaceful means. End of violence is imperative for return of social stability in the country and commencement of negotiations. It is also important that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria is respected and guaranteed.”
President Zardari said Pakistan has consistently extended unequivocal and unreserved support to the Palestinian cause. Pakistan believes that unless the Palestinian problem is resolved‚ peace in Middle East will remain elusive.
The Emir of Qatar reciprocated the sentiments of President Asif Ali Zardari and said his country was fully resolved to strengthen and diversify ties with Pakistan in different fields.
He agreed that there was need to increase bilateral trade and explore ways and means for investment promotion.
The Emir lauded efforts of Pakistan for regional peace and said its cooperation for restoration of stability in Afghanistan was crucial.