Islamabad, March 18, 2013 (PPI-OT): President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday urged for concerted steps to bolster the existing broad and deep relationship between Pakistan and Egypt to new heights with focus on trade and investment ties. The Government and the people of Pakistan highly value their relations with their Egyptian brethren and were eager to translate the full potential of this relationship for the mutual benefit of the people of the two countries.
The President said this during one-on-one meeting with Egyptian President Dr. Mohamed Morsi followed by delegation level talks at the Presidency today.
Briefing about the two rounds of talks, Spokesperson to the President, Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the two leaders held wide-ranging discussions on bilateral, regional and international issues and the situation in Middle East.
The President while warmly welcoming Dr. Mohamed Morsi on his maiden visit to Pakistan congratulated him on the success of peaceful struggle for democratic change in Egypt and lauded his efforts for democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights in Egypt.
President Zardari on the occasion wished every success to the government and the people of Egypt in realizing the dream of a free, democratic and prosperous Egypt in a peaceful region and peaceful world.
The President said that Pakistan and Egypt enjoy traditional friendly relationship which he said is rooted in common faith and cultural affinities. As an important Islamic country Pakistan considers Egypt an important player in the region as well as in the Islamic world, the President said and added that Pakistan desires to expand, diversify and further strengthen our relations in all fields of bilateral relations.
President Morsi expressed his deep desire to cultivate close relations with Pakistan and stated that Pakistan and Egypt are two pillars of the Islamic World which have an important role to play in the Ummah as well as in the region.
The Spokesperson said that the two leaders agreed to hold bilateral summit on biennial basis alternatively in Pakistan and Egypt and expressed confidence that the mechanism would not only boost our bilateral relations but would also give two countries an opportunity to co-ordinate its positions on important regional and international developments.
The two leaders also agreed to the holding of the 4th Session of the Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) in Islamabad later this year and called for increased people to people contacts which they believed was extremely important in cementing the bonds of friendship between the two countries.
Discussing bilateral relations, the two leaders expressed satisfaction on the current state of bilateral ties and urged the need to further expedite efforts to fully realize the true trade potential by promoting greater business delegations exchanges, investments and facilitating the entrepreneurs.
The President on the occasion highlighted the various incentives and facilities being offered to the investors which included investment in all the economic sectors, allowing 100% foreign equity, no limit on foreign investment, equal treatment to foreign and domestic investments, complete ownership of the businesses, allowing free repatriation of profits and capitals besides generous tax and customs incentives for importing raw materials, plant and machinery into Pakistan.
He invited Egyptian investment in key sectors of economy including Infrastructure, Energy, Mining, Textile, Real Estate and Tourism and also invited Egyptian investors to avail the huge incentive packages being offered to foreign investors and entrepreneurs for investment in the Special Economic Zones in various parts of the country.
President Zardari expressed hope that the various MoUs and agreements inked today in all fields would give further impetus to the trade and investment ties hence jacking up the current bilateral trade volume from current around $400 million to new heights. He also proposed Free Trade Agreement between the two countries, which he said, would help increase the quantum of bilateral investment.
Discussing regional situation, President Zardari said that at this difficult juncture while the Muslim and the Arab world is facing great challenges and witnessing changes, the Muslim Ummah must shun differences and forge unity.
On situation in Syria, President Zardari said that Pakistan and Egypt should work together closely for the common good of the Ummah and for peace in our region. He urged for working together to end the bloodshed in Syria and to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.
Pakistan believe that Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty must be respected, the President said and further stated that any outside interference would only complicate a complex situation and will have serious consequences for the neighboring countries. He stated that the drive for peace in Syria must be led and owned by the Syrian People and offered Pakistan’s readiness to play its role in finding a peaceful solution of the Syrian crisis.
The Spokesperson said that President Zardari while appreciating Egypt for supporting the causes of the Muslim Ummah hailed the role being played by Egypt for promoting regional peace and stability.
The two Presidents also witnessed the signing of five Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and one Executive Program for further promoting cooperation between the two countries in the fields of postal services, Merchant Shipping, investment, Media, Science and technology and Small and Medium enterprises development.
The MoUs signed today between the two countries pertains to the cooperation in the field of Money Orders and International Postal services , Cooperation in the field of Merchant Shipping, cooperation between Board of Investment (BOI) of Pakistan and General Authority of Free Zones and Investment (GAFI) of Egypt , cooperation between Middle East News Agency (MENA) and Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) and cooperation between Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority of Pakistan and Special Fund for Development (SFD) of Egypt. The two countries also signed 3rd Executive Program for Scientific and Technological cooperation between Pakistan and Egypt for the years 2013 to 2015.
In delegation level talks, Dr. Mohamed Morsi was accompanied by General Mohammad Abdul Fatah El-Sisi, Commander- in Chief of the Egyptian armed forces and Minister of Defence and Military Production, Mr. Mohamed Kamal Amr, minister of foreign affairs, Dr. Essam Ahmed Mahmoud Elhaddad, Presidential aid for foreign relations and international cooperation, Mr. Hatem Abdelhamid Mahmoud Saleh , minister of industry and foreign trade, Engineer Ateh Naguib, minister of communication and information Technology, Ambassador Mr. Mohamed Raifaah El Tahtawy, chief of the Presidential Cabinet and Mr. Said Hindam, Egyptian ambassador in Pakistan .
From Pakistan side, the meeting was attended among others by Secretary General to the President Mr. Salman Faruqui, Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar, Foreign Secretary Mr. Jalil Abbas Jillani, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Asif Yasin Malik, Secretary Defence, Mr. Manzoorul Haq, Pakistan Ambassador in Egypt and other senior officials.
Later the President also hosted banquet for the Egyptian President Dr. Mohamed Morsi and his accompanying delegation which was also attended by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, former Prime Minister Syed Yusaf Raza Gilani and other dignitaries.
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