Pakistan, Uzbekistan agree to early finalisation of PTA, TTA

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has underlined the need for strengthening trade and economic cooperation between Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

The prime minister made these remarks during a virtual summit with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on Wednesday.

The prime minister stressed for early finalisation of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and Transit Trade Agreement (TTA) between the two countries. He also underlined the importance of enhancing political and diplomatic linkages as well as security and defence cooperation between Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

He said that steps also need to be taken to deepen mutual collaboration in the fields of education, culture, and tourism. The prime minister highlighted Pakistan’s economic security paradigm and the shifting focus to geo-economics.

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The level of progress on the Trans-Afghan Railway Line Project, agreed among Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan earlier this year, was reviewed during the summit. The project would be a first step in linking the Central Asian transport network with Pakistani seaports of Gwadar, Karachi and Qasim.

The prime minister also underscored the importance of rail, road and air connectivity and highlighted the enormous potential that exists in diverse fields to build an expanded mutually beneficial partnership. The prime minister stated that once completed, the initiative would transform the geo-economic dynamics of the entire regime.

Prime Minister Imran apprised the Uzbek president of Pakistan’s perspective on issues of peace and security in South Asia, and underlined the imperative of peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. He also highlighted Pakistan’s efforts to facilitate the Afghan peace process for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

He stressed that this historic opportunity must be seized by the Afghan parties to achieve an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive negotiated political settlement. The prime minister also underscored the importance of countering Islamophobia and promoting inter-faith harmony.

President Mirziyoyev reiterated his invitation to Prime Minister Imran to attend the high-level International Conference on Regional Connectivity, to be held in Tashkent in July 2021. The premier thanked President Mirziyoyev and reiterated his invitation to him to visit Pakistan at the earliest convenience.

A joint declaration was adopted at the conclusion of the summit.
The two countries also signed an agreement and two memoranda of understanding on the occasion of the virtual summit.

During the wide-ranging talks, views were exchanged on bilateral, regional and international issues. The two sides highlighted the depth of Pakistan-Uzbekistan relations rooted in common faith, shared history and cultural affinities, read an official statement.

“They also reiterated their determination to maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges and further enhance the upward trajectory of the relationship. The two leaders reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations — with particular focus on political, trade, security and defence, educational and cultural domains.”

“They also agreed to encourage more people-to-people contacts including through spiritual tourism,” the statement added.

The two leaders also discussed important global and regional matters of mutual interest and reaffirmed the commitment to continue supporting each other at all international and regional fora, including the UN, OIC, SCO and ECO, the statement said.

The agreements and MoUs signed included developing cooperation in the field of agriculture, mutual recognition in conformity assessment of products, standardisation, metrology and technical assistance, and defence cooperation.

The two also leaders expressed confidence that the understandings reached during the summit will further deepen bilateral cooperation and contribute towards forging a stronger, multi-dimensional relationship between the two countries.

It was agreed to continue the summit-level political dialogue in future. A joint declaration was adopted at the conclusion of the summit.

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