TASHKENT, Uzbekistan: The Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held separate bilateral meetings with his Uzbek and Kyrgyz Counterparts on the sidelines of the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO-CFM) in Tashkent on Friday.
In the meeting with the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan Norov Vladimir Imamovich, the two sides exchanged views on deepening bilateral cooperation in a range of areas including political, trade, economic, security, defence, and connectivity.
The Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto expressed satisfaction at the level of bilateral contacts in the last few years and stressed the importance of maintaining the momentum through consolidating the strategic partnership between Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
The foreign minister underscored the urgent need to operationalize Transit Trade Agreement (UPTTA) and Preferential Trade Agreement for boosting trade and transit between the two Countries.
The foreign minister underlined the importance of direct air connectivity to enhance business and people-to-people links. He also appreciated progress on joint media production on the common heritage and life of Mughal Emperor Zaheer-ud-din Babur.
Bilawal Bhutto re-affirmed Pakistan’s strong commitment to timely completion of Trans-Afghan railway project and expressed pleasure at commencement of joint field expedition in Afghanistan in this context. He urged the need to fully utilize the potential of Pakistan’s seaports of Gwadar and Karachi by advancing the connectivity agenda.
The two leaders expressed satisfaction on the existing cooperation at regional and international fora, particularly at the UN, OIC, ECO and SCO.
Uzbekistan is currently the Chairman of ECO and SCO for the year 2022.
Speaking on regional and international issues, the foreign minister reiterated Pakistan’s continued support for sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan and its benefits for the region and beyond.
In other meeting with the Foreign Minister of Kyrgyz Republic Jeenbek Kulubaev Moldokanovich, Bilawal felicitated his Counterpart on the 30th Anniversary of establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari underscored close cooperation between the two Countries at bilateral and multilateral fora including at SCO, which demonstrated the commonality of views on regional and global issues of mutual interest.
The foreign minister underlined the importance of regular convening of formal mechanisms, between the two countries, in particular Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC) and Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC).
The foreign minister also emphasized the importance of renewed focus on the important road and energy connectivity projects such as CASA-1000 and Quadrilateral Agreement on Traffic-in-Transit (QATT).
The two ministers agreed to remain in regular contact.