APP04-29 ISLAMABAD: August 29 - Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi talking to United Arab Emirates Ambassador Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al-Zaabi during a meeting in Foreign office. APP photo by Saleem Rana

ISLAMABAD, Aug 29 (APP):Foreign minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi Wednesday said that forging cordial relations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would be one of the priorities of his government, as being an important trade and investment partner of Pakistan and home to 1.6 m strong Pakistani diaspora, UAE had a special place in the hearts of Pakistani people.
He was talking to ambassador of UAE to Pakistan Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al-Zaabi, who made a courtesy call on the foreign minister to congratulate him on assuming his office.
The ambassador also conveyed to him warm wishes of the UAE leadership in discharge of his duties, Foreign office in a press release said.
The foreign minister warmly reciprocated the sincere wishes of Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed.
Qureshi expressed the hope to meet his UAE counterpart on the margins of 73rd UNGA in New York next month to give the much needed impetus to bilateral ties after a lull period of five years.
He strongly proposed revival of leadership level contacts between the two countries and an early convening of Joint Ministerial Commission to put the relations back on an upward trajectory.
Paying tributes to late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the foreign minister said, he was a true friend of Pakistan and architect of Pakistan-UAE relations.
He expressed deep appreciation for the Crown Prince’s unwavering support to the cause of polio eradication in Pakistan and other development and humanitarian projects undertaken by the UAE in the far flung and disasters afflicted areas under UAE-Pakistan Assistance Programme.
Ambassador Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al-Zaabi welcomed the proposals made by the foreign minister and expressed the desire of UAE leadership to work closely with the new leadership in Pakistan, to push forward their people-oriented agenda.
They agreed to expedite signing of visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic and official passport holders and rationalization of business visa fee on reciprocal basis.
The UAE ambassador extended an invitation to the foreign minister to participate in Sir Bani Yas Forum in UAE later this year.
The foreign minister also conveyed his greetings and best wishes for the leadership and people of UAE.