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Pakistan to strengthen ties with African countries, establish embassies

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has envisaged the ‘Engage Africa Policy’ to strengthen ties and increase its diplomatic missions with all African countries.

Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani said Pakistan will open an embassy in Djibouti owing to the growing economic and political importance of the African region. He met with Acting Chairman African Union Parliament and President Djibouti National Parliament here Mohamed Ali Houmed at Parliament House who is leading a 12-member delegation to Pakistan.

Sanjrani said the exchange of parliamentary delegations would steer the agenda for enhanced economic, political, and defence cooperation not only between Pakistan and Djibouti but also with other African countries.

Sanjrani said Pakistan is looking forward to vibrant interactions to share the experiences in public sector reforms, technical cooperation, infrastructure development and private investment with the African countries.

Chairman Senate appreciated the visit to Pakistan during this testing time of coronavirus pandemic. He hoped the visit would strengthen relations between both counties and open new vistas of diplomatic, parliamentary and economic cooperation with the African region.

The chairman senate also appreciated the role of Djibouti to foster peace and stability among African nations and sought support to Pakistan to become an observer member in the Inter-Governmental Development Authority (IGAD).

He apprised the visiting delegation that there was a vibrant Pakistan-Djibouti Friendship Group in Senate of Pakistan and two sides could work together to devise a plan for increased parliamentary relations. He lauded the visionary role of President Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh for modernisation and development of Djibouti.

He apprised that trade between Pakistan and landlocked Ethiopia took place through Djibouti and Pakistan needs special treatment for expeditious delivery of goods to Ethiopia. He emphasised to devise special package for Pakistani investors and entrepreneurs to invest and extend quality services for Djibouti International Free Trade Zone (DIFTZ) as it has been attracting investments from China, Italy, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other countries.

The chairman expressed the need to build closer meteorological cooperation between Pakistan and Djibouti to monitor and track the movement of locust infestation in Red Sea, Arabian Sea and the Horn of Africa.

He informed that Pakistan has been providing training facilities to Djibouti in the fields of diplomacy, banking and railways. He assured continuous provision of technical expertise in fields and showed keen interest to build sports linkages especially between football teams of both nations.

He said Pakistan was ready to provide technical and medical assistance to Djibouti to control the COVID-19 pandemic.  He said Pakistan enjoyed great respect among the comity of African nations due to its constructive role as an important player of “UN Peacekeeping Operations” in Africa.

He added Pakistan has ample opportunities to build military to military cooperation with African countries and the defence cooperation would create a huge market for Pakistan’s defense production.

He apprised about the impending health emergency in the wake of the spread of COVID-19 which was hampering dissemination of information, supply of medicines and other essentials items to fight the pandemic. He stressed the need for a unified call from the international community for lifting these restrictions.