Islamabad, October 09, 2012 (PPI-OT): President Asif Ali Zardari Tuesday said that Pakistan values its relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and called for further strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries in all fields, especially in the economic and commercial realm. The President assured his Bosnian counterpart all out support and cooperation of Pakistan’s government in boosting bilateral trade ties.
The President said this during one on one meeting with Mr. Bakir Izetbegovic, President of Bosnia and Herzegovina, followed by delegation level talks here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr today.
Those who were present during the delegation level meeting included among others Ms Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Syed Naveed Qamar, defence Minister, Dr. A. Rehman Malik, interior Minister, Mr. Arbab Alamgir, Minister for communication, Mr. M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani, Foreign secretary, , Spokesperson to the President, Senator Farhatullah Babar and other senior officials.
The Bosnian President was assisted by Mr. Muhammad Ibrahimovic, minister for defence, Mr. Armin Limo, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Pakistan, MR. Boris Buha, advisor to the President (Serb), Mr. Enes Jahic, advisor to the President (Croat) and other members of President’s delegation.
Briefing about the meeting, Spokesperson to the President, Senator Farhatullah Babar said that President Zardari reiterated that Pakistan stand by the people of Bosnia in their quest for peace and progress and said that Pakistan remains steadfast in its support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia.
The President said that as Bosnia is located in Europe and that desire for integration with the West was a natural outcome of Bosnia’s geographical reality. The President however said that its spirit has been attuned to the East as well and remarked that Bosnia was ideally suited to be a centre for peace and reconciliation between cultures and civilizations. He reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the unity and territorial integrity of Bosnia Herzegovina.
The President said that Bosnia and Herzegovina has a very special place in the hearts of Pakistani people and expressed delight to see that Bosnia has come a long way from the challenges of its recent past. He admired the maturity, tolerance and spirit of reconciliation of the people of Bosnia and the multi-cultural character of Bosnia and termed Bosnia an example of how diversity can be a source of strength and enrichment for the society.
The two leaders shared common concerns on terrorism and extremism and agreed on increased sharing of intelligence between the two countries in this regard. . The President reiterated that militancy and heroines were nurtured by the international community as war weapon and called upon the international community to share responsibility and come forward to help Pakistan in curbing militancy and narcotics in the region.
He said that Pakistan was actively engaged in a concerted effort to curb the narcotics trade and we are also hosting a regional conference in November this year on counter narcotics. He said that counter terrorism and fighting narcotics was a battle of hearts and minds and reiterated firm resolve to win this battle.
Commenting on trade ties, the President urged for enhancing bilateral trade as the current level of bilateral trade of US $ 301,000 was not commensurate with close and friendly political relations between the two countries and there exist huge potential for robust trade and investment between the two countries. He expressed hope that Preferential Trade Agreement being negotiated between the two countries would soon be finalized.
The two leaders also witnessed the signing of the two MOUs in the areas of defense cooperation and the mutual cooperation between the chambers of commerce of the two countries to promote trade and economic activities. While describing the signing of the MOUs as significant step forward, they expressed the hope that it will go a long way in further strengthening bilateral equation especially defense and trade ties.
The President said that Pakistan can prove to be a great launching pad for marketing of Bosnian products in our region and similarly Bosnia can serve as a hub for Pakistan products in the heart of Europe, adding that the two countries have immense economic complementarities.
The Spokesperson said that President Zardari emphasized the need for greater interaction among the businessmen and entrepreneurs of the two countries to explore new avenues of trade and investment to the mutual benefit of the two countries. The two leaders also agreed to the opening of Bank branches in the two countries.
The President appreciated that Pakistan-Bosnia business seminar held in Islamabad early this morning has identified many areas of cooperation and have explored practical measures to enhance trade and investment.
President Zardari said that Pakistan was fighting violent extremism and terrorism and at the same time was focusing on changing the mindset of the youth who are easily influenced by radical ideologies, through education and intellectual activities.
Commenting on defence ties between the two countries, the President valued bilateral cooperation and understanding in defence field and asked for further enhancing defence cooperation. The President termed the signing of MOU in defence cooperation between our two countries a significant step.
The Spokesperson said that President said that indigenously developed smart card technology and biometric technology which help catalogued complete and correct information about citizens, was available in Pakistan and he offered to share this technology with Bosnia. The biometric technology has proved to be a great factor in identifying and nabbing persons with criminal record, he further remarked.
The President also emphasized the need for linkages in education sector as this was another potential area for cooperation between the two countries. He said that Students from many countries come to study in around 140 universities of Pakistan and at the same time thousands of Pakistani students go abroad for studies every year.
He said that exchange of students and faculty would create stronger linkages between the two countries and would also help to pass on to the future generations the goodwill that exists between our two peoples. He assured all out support of the government in this regard.
Discussing regional and global situation, the two leaders were unanimous in opinion that Pakistan and Bosnia have been promoting international peace and harmony and that the two countries enjoy excellent cooperation at all international forums, especially at the United Nations. President Zardari said that Pakistan desires peace and stability as Peace in the region was a prerequisite for development and prosperity of the people.
The Spokesperson said that Mr. Bakir Izetbegovic, President of Bosnia and Herzegovina, expressed his gratitude to the President and the government of Pakistan for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to him and his delegation and expressed keen desire to further jack up the bilateral ties and mutual cooperation in all fields especially trade, investment, defence, Education and banking sector between Pakistan and Bosnia Herzegovina.
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