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Pakistan keen to work with Bahrain to improve mutual economic relations:Nawaz

08 January, 2015

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MANAMA: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday 7,January,2015 said that Pakistan was keen to work with Bahrain to further improve mutual economic relations that reflect the warmth existing in bilateral relations between the two countries.

"There is an immense scope for expanding the existing volume of bilateral trade between the two countries which currently stands at $200 million," he said while leading the Pakistan side in the delegation-level talks with Bahrain held at the Gudabiya Palace.

The Bahraini delegation was led by Prime Minister of Bahrain Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.

Prime Minister Sharif, who also held a one-on-one meeting with Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa before the delegation-level talks, expressed his gratitude to the Bahraini government for extending a warm welcome to the Pakistani delegation.

He said that Pakistan and Bahrain shared common perceptions on many regional and international issues, adding that the two countries have an exemplary record of close cooperation with each other at the United Nations (UN) and other international forums.

Nawaz Sharif said that he regarded Pakistan as an attractive investment destination because of the government's liberal investment policy and a high rate of return. "Pakistan welcomes investment from Bahrain, particularly in the energy sector, including hydropower, coal, oil and gas," he added.

He stressed the need of reactivating the Pakistan-Bahrain Joint Business Council which was established in 2007 and thanked the government of Bahrain for sending a message of condolence over the Peshawar tragedy.

Both sides expressed satisfaction over the status of cooperation between the two countries in the fields of defence and security. It was agreed that mutual defence cooperation was particularly significant in the wake of ever increasing menace of terrorism and extremism in the region.

Prime Minister Sharif said that fighting terrorism was his government's top priority, adding that the country remained committed to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Matters relating to around 100,000 Pakistanis living in Bahrain also came under discussion.

He said that Bahrain was one of the favourite destinations of Pakistanis working abroad and welcomed the decision of the Bahraini government to award dual nationality to some of them.

Bahraini Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa said that Pakistanis were employed in all walks of life in the country, including highly-skilled professions like security and defence services.

He lauded the contribution of the Pakistani community towards the stability and socioeconomic well-being of Bahrain.

Talking about the regional situation, Prime Minister Sharif said that Pakistan followed a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and wished to have peaceful and cooperative relations with all countries in the region.

After the talks the two prime ministers witnessed signing of an agreement between the two countries on exemption from short-stay visa for holders of diplomatic and official passports.

They also witnessed signing of five memorandums of understanding (MOUs): between the University of Bahrain and Quaid-e-Azam University; between the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Bahrain and the Ministry of Commerce of Pakistan on cooperation in the field of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) development; in the field of arts and culture; cooperation in the field of education and higher Education and on twinning of Islamabad and Manama Capital of Bahrain.

In addition, Prime Minister Sharif handed over the instrument of ratification of the agreement for the promotion and protection of investments to his Bahraini counterpart. Later, the Bahraini prime minister also hosted lunch in honour of the Pakistani delegation.

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