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Pakistan keen for mutually-beneficial partnerships with neighbours: PM Nawaz

12 December, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday stressed the need for converting existing goodwill with other countries into mutually beneficial partnerships.

"We are looking to working closely with the world, both in exploring, exploiting and developing this potential and realising the opportunities," the prime minister said at a luncheon hosted in honour of a group of ambassadors at the Prime Minister's House. The ambassadors of Argentina, Canada, Norway, Turkey, Brazil, Japan, Holy See, Cuba and Switzerland and the deputy chief of mission of the US and charge d'affaires of Australia attended the luncheon.

Prime Minister Nawaz said Pakistan was keen to expand cooperation with friendly countries, especially in trade, investment, energy, infrastructure, agriculture and human resource development. On the regional political situation, he said as the situation in Afghanistan was approaching a crucial phase, Pakistan remained committed to support a peaceful and smooth transition in its neighbouring country. Nawaz Sharif recalled his recent visit to Kabul and his "most warm and friendly" exchange of views on a whole range of issues.

He said the talks included cooperation in facilitating an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of transition and reconciliation. The prime minister said Pakistan was determined to rid itself of terrorism and extremism. He said the menace was complex in nature and was rooted in the events of the past three decades, having global, regional and local dimensions. "We believe that the best way to deal with these challenges is through national consensus, which we are generating through various forums, including the holding of all-parties conference and passing the parliamentary resolutions," he said.

Later the Ambassador of Argentina and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps Rodolfo Martin Saravia in his speech said that the ambassadors were honoured to have been invited at the luncheon and said the event provided an opportunity to share experiences and ideas. He said the peaceful transfer of power from one democratic setup to another was an achievement for Pakistan. "The diplomatic community feels comfortable in Pakistan and considers it as our second home," he said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan believes in resolving all issues with India peacefully and diplomatically "through dialogue-based on parity." Talking to Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan TCA Raghavan who called on him at the Prime Minister's House, the prime minister said Pakistan desires friendly relations with all its neighbours, particularly with India. "We have no option but to live in peace in the interest of the people of Pakistan and India," Nawaz said.

"My government is committed to improving relations with India," he said and added the normalisation process must remain on track. "We need to work towards setting aside the baggage of history, prevailing mistrust and lack of flexibility," he added.

"I am convinced that we have no option but to normalise relations for the sake of peace and betterment of our peoples." The prime minister told the high commissioner about his "very good meeting" with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York and the one between Sartaj Aziz with External Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed in New Delhi recently. "We should continue to hold regular meetings and interactions at all levels as these will help towards normalising of relations."


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