Islamabad: The Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Her Excellency Hina Rabbani Khar visited Afghanistan on 1st February 2012 at the invitation of the Afghan Foreign Minister His Excellency Dr. Zalmai Rassoul. The two Foreign Ministers held bilateral talks. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar also called on His Excellency Mr. Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
The two sides held in-depth consultations to work out a programme of enhanced engagement for promoting bilateral cooperation in diverse fields, and:
Re-affirmed the historical, cultural and religious bonds of friendship that exist between the two neighbouring countries and their peoples;
Reiterated commitment to steer bilateral relations in accordance with the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence, mutual respect and the UN Charter;
Agreed that a strong, robust and independent bilateral relationship would greatly contribute to peace and stability in the region.
Emphasized the need of working together towards enhanced bilateral engagement for deepening interaction in diverse fields including security, development, transit, trade, economic and investment linkages, infra-structure and energy connectivity and people to people contacts for harnessing mutual benefits;
Recognized that terrorism and extremism are common challenges that require common approach and close cooperation in dealing with these challenges;
The Pakistan side re-affirmed that they fully support and stand by the Afghan nation as they determine their own future.
Agreed that an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process is vital for reaching an intra-Afghan political settlement with a view to achieving long term peace, stability and progress in Afghanistan and it required taking necessary steps in specific areas requested by the Government of Afghanistan to facilitate the peace process;
Agreed to operationalize, on priority basis, a Joint Commission to address the prisoners issue as announced during the visit of President Karzai to Islamabad in June 2011;
Expressed satisfaction that due to increasing economic and commercial interaction between the two countries, documented annual bilateral trade has reached the level of $2.5 billion.
Agreed that facilitative steps should be taken to further enhance bilateral trade and achieve the target set by the leadership of $ 5 billion annual trade by 2015.
Acknowledged contribution of Prime Minister of Pakistan’s 2000 scholarships scheme in facilitating higher education opportunities for Afghan students in Pakistani universities. More than 1400 Afghan students have so far benefited from this scheme, while some 7000 Afghan students are enrolled in Pakistani universities and professional colleges;
Agreed to finalize on priority basis a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for abolition of visa for diplomats;
Emphasized the need of working out a plan for promoting infrastructure and energy sector connectivity;
Agreed to explore donor funding for building Peshawar-Jalalabad and Quetta-Kandahar railways to facilitate the movement of goods and peoples between the two countries;
Reaffirmed that enhanced regional connectivity will be beneficial to stimulate economic growth and trade. In this regard, priority should be given to Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline and CASA-1000 projects; and recognized the need of jointly pursuing trade and transit agreements with Central Asian states.
Agreed to consult for developing a framework for mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of mines and minerals and also give priority attention to the development of infra-structure for achieving shared progress and prosperity.
The Pakistani side stated that it looked forward to welcoming H.E. Mr. Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on visit to Pakistan on 16-17 February 2012.
For more information, contact:
Syed Haider Ali Jafri
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 921 0335 and 9056604