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Al-Sabah visit to take Pak-Kuwait relations to new heights: Musharraf

19 June, 2006

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ISLAMABAD: President General Pervez Musharraf on Sunday expressed optimism that the visit of the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jabber Al-Sabah will yield positive outcome to take Pak-Kuwait relations to new height.

Musharraf expressed these views in his interview with KUNA. The President expressed pleasure over the visit and told "we greatly value our bonds of friendship with Kuwait," adding "the visit will contribute to further consolidation of our relations in various fields, especially trade and commerce, investments, construction, manpower export, and energy sectors." The Amir of Kuwait, heading a high-level delegation, will arrive here on Monday. His entourage includes Chairman of Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry and 17 leading business figures and officials and would explore possibilities of investment in various sectors in Pakistan.

It is important that the private sectors of both sides deepen interaction to strengthen economic and trade relations between the two countries, said the President.

The last visit of a Kuwaiti Amir to Pakistan took place in 1980. H.H. Sheikh Sabah had also visited Pakistan in 1993 and 1997 in his capacity as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to attend the scheduled OIC meetings.

President Musharraf told KUNA he is pleased an Amir of Kuwait is visiting again after so many years. Kuwait is Pakistanís third largest economic partner in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and a major source of petroleum products.

Asked about Pakistanís request last year for relaxation in oil payments from Kuwait, the President said the request was made "in view of the devastation caused by the earthquake in October 2005 and rising oil prices in recent months ... Such a step will help our rehabilitation efforts and economic growth." The talks during the Amirís visit will cover bilateral cooperation on regional and international issues of mutual concern, said the President.

H.H. Sheikh Sabah will hold one-on-one meeting with President Musharraf after his arrival on Monday in the afternoon. The President will also host a state banquet in his honor.

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