PM, Tajik President discuss strengthening cooperation in trade, energy, connectivity

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 12 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon met here Thursday and discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral relations particularly in the areas of trade, energy and connectivity.
In a one-on-one meeting held here at the PM House, the two leaders
emphasized on close collaboration between Pakistan and Tajikistan at the levels of governments and people for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan attaches great importance to its
relations with Central Asia particularly Tajikistan, which is geographically closest to Pakistan among all Central Asian states.
Stressing for for establishment of air links between Pakistan and
Tajikistan on priority basis, he said, connectivity holds key to the regional integration.
The Prime Minister said the relations with Central Asia are based on
cultural and religious affinity dating back centuries and added that Pakistan wished to transform these fraternal ties into a strong economic partnership.
He recalled his recent visits to Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
and apprised him of his upcoming visit to Uzbekistan on November 17.
He said these visits were aimed at further promoting bilateral cooperation and stressed to ensure implementation of initiatives taken and Agreements concluded during such high-level visits.
The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction that bilateral trade between
Pakistan and Tajikistan had steadily risen to US$15 million in 2011 to US$89 million in 2014. He called for working arduously to achieve the target of US$500 million that had been agreed to achieve in three years in 2014.
On stronger connectivity, the Prime Minister said China Pakistan
Economic Corridor (CPEC) would provide new opportunities for enhanced connectivity and integration from Gwadar to Kashgar. It will also provide a road link with Tajikistan through Murghab and other Central Asian states.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan was keen for implementation of
CASA-1000 (Central Asia South Asia) project and expressed hope that the project would be completed by 2018.
Pakistan, he said, attaches great importance security cooperation with
Tajikistan, and proposed to share the experiences on counter-terrorism, anti-narcotics, controlling human trafficking and best border control practices.
Tajik President Rahmon endorsed the Prime Minister for enhanced steps to
further strengthen ties in areas of trade, energy, communication, security and defence, and people-to-people contacts.