ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Prime Minister’s Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz held a meeting with the visiting Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Islamabad on Thursday and asked to provide greater market access to Pakistan’s products in the Australian market.
During the meeting which was held shortly after the Australian foreign minister reached Islamabad on a two-day official visit to Pakistan, both the sides agreed to further strengthen their relations in diverse fields including trade and economy.
Later addressing a joint news conference along with the Australian counterpart, Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan and Australia enjoy excellent relations which are based on mutual respect and shared interests.
The advisor said that the two countries have agreed to further consolidate the existing friendly people to people contacts, underpinned by the presence of eighty thousand strong Pakistani diaspora and around thirteen thousand Pakistani students in Australia.
Sartaj Aziz said that our talks focused on the need for regular political exchanges between the two countries including high level visits.
“We feel that exchange of parliamentary visits is important,” he said. He said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will visit Australia this year or early next year.
In her remarks, the Australian foreign minister said that his country attaches great importance to its bilateral relations with Pakistan.
“We have long been friends and want to diversify cooperation in different fields,” Julie Bishop said that adding that her country has strong and long standing defense relations with Pakistan.
“We have common interests in countering transnational crimes including drug and human smuggling.”
Talking about Australian development assistance to Pakistan, she said that during her visit she will announce an assistance package of 24 million Australian dollars for Pakistan, out of which 19.9 million dollars will be given to Pakistan’s efforts for facilitating regional trade and investment as well as for the rehabilitation of country’s border areas.