ISLAMABAD, Dec 16 (APP):The leadership of Pakistan and Bahrain Monday underscored the importance of further promoting political and economic relations, strengthening cooperation in the fields of public health, energy, education, agriculture and tourism.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was on a day-long official visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain on the invitation of King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa to attend its National Day as the guest of honour. He was accompanied by a high-level delegation, a joint statement issued here by the Prime Minister Office said.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa received Prime Minister Imran Khan at Sakhir Palace and conferred on him the Bahrain Order β€” First Class, in the recognition of his remarkable leadership, outstanding achievements and contribution to further strengthening relations between the two countries.

The two leaders held a wide range of constructive discussions in light of the existing close ties between the two countries.

The discussion focused on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of common interests, with a view to further broaden and deepen bilateral engagement across all mutually beneficial fields.

Both the countries signed three memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to cooperate in the fields of education, higher education, scientific research, medical sciences and cooperation in youth affairs and sports.

Prime Minister Imran Khan held talks with Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, crown prince, deputy supreme commander and first deputy prime minister, at Gudaibya Palace. The crown prince also hosted a banquet in honour of the prime minister.

The King of Bahrain expressed appreciation for the contribution made by the Pakistani expatriates’ community towards Bahrain’s progress and economic development.

Prime Minister Khan conveyed his deep appreciation to the Kingdom of Bahrain for hosting a large number of Pakistani citizens and expressed the hope that Bahrain would continue to employ more Pakistanis across various sectors of the economy.

According to the joint statement, the two sides welcomed the regular exchange of high-level visits during recent years, and recalled the successful state visit of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to Pakistan on March 18 to 20, 2014.

The two sides noted that this visit laid a strong foundation to build a closer partnership between the two countries, and agreed further to follow up on the implementation of the agreements and the MoUs signed during the visit.

Prime Minister Khan conveyed his deep appreciation on behalf of the people of the country for the royal gesture to establish King Hamad Nursing and Associated Medical Science University in Pakistan and agreed to operationalize the university at the earliest possible.

Both sides underlined the importance of continuing regular consultations through the existing institutional mechanisms and agreed to hold the second meeting of the
Bahrain-Pakistan Joint Ministerial Commission in Manama in the first quarter of 2020.

The two sides welcomed the recent signing of an agreement on military cooperation, which will further increase the sharing of information, intelligence and assessments.

Both sides denounced terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including state terrorism, and reaffirmed their desire to strengthen cooperation, at both the bilateral and multilateral level, in the fight against terrorism and financing of terrorism, combating transnational organized crimes, combating narcotics, and enhancing cyber security cooperation.

Expressing satisfaction regarding the growing economic cooperation between the two countries, both sides recognized the potential for greater trade and commercial exchanges and agreed to take all necessary steps to increase the volume of bilateral trade.

In light of the significant role played by the investors, the two sides committed to providing favourable environments for investors from both countries and emphasised the need for a regular and timely exchange of information on available investment opportunities.

Recognizing the enormous growth potential of both economies, the Pakistani side encouraged Bahraini investors to take advantage of the favourable investment environment and consider investing in areas of high potential, including infrastructure development, energy, tourism industry, food processing and services sector.

Additionally, the Pakistani side recognized Bahrain as an ideal gateway to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries’ markets. The two sides exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the security situation in West Asia and South Asia.

Both sides reiterated the importance of striving towards peaceful resolutions of all disputes, in light of international legitimacy and relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Acknowledging the immense commercial potential between Pakistan and GCC countries, Bahrain reiterated its support and commitment to further strengthening cooperation through the preparation of a joint action plan for the strategic dialogue between the GCC and Pakistan, as well as the finalisation of the Pakistan-GCC Free Trade Agreement.

Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked the king, prime minister and crown prince for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to him and his delegation.

He extended invitations to the king, prime minister and crown prince to visit Pakistan at their earliest convenience, which were gladly accepted, the joint statement said.