PM holds virtual summit with Uzbek President

ISLAMABAD: The first virtual summit between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev was held on Wednesday during which wide-ranging views were exchanged on bilateral, regional and international issues.

The two sides highlighted the depth of Pakistan-Uzbekistan relations rooted in common faith, shared history and cultural affinities. They also reiterated their determination to maintain momentum of high-level exchanges and further enhance the upward trajectory of the relationship.

The two leaders reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations focusing on political, trade, security and defence, educational and cultural domains. They also agreed to encourage more people-to-people contacts including spiritual (ziyarat) tourism.

Prime Minister Imran Khan underlined the importance of enhancing political and diplomatic linkages, fast tracking trade and economic cooperation, ensuring early finalization of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and Transit Trade Agreement (TTA), increasing security and defence cooperation, and taking steps to deepen mutual collaboration in the fields of education, culture and tourism.

PM Imran Khan also underscored the importance of rail, road and air connectivity and highlighted the enormous potential that exists in diverse fields to build an expanded mutually-beneficial partnership. He highlighted Pakistan’s economic security paradigm and the shifting focus to geo-economics. He stressed that Central Asia was a region of particular focus in this vision.

The progress on the Trans-Afghan Railway Line Project agreed between Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan earlier this year, was reviewed. The project would be a first step in linking the Central Asian transport network with Pakistani seaports of Gwadar and Karachi. Prime Minister Imran Khan stated that once completed the initiative would transform the geo-economic dynamics of the entire regime.

The two leaders also discussed important global and regional matters of mutual interest and reaffirmed the commitment to continue supporting each other at all international and regional forum. He also underscored the importance of countering Islamophobia and promoting inter-faith harmony. 

PM Imran Khan apprised on the latest situation in IIOJK, shared Pakistan’s perspective on issues of peace and security in South Asia, and underlined the imperative of peaceful resolution of the dispute.

He also highlighted Pakistan’s efforts to facilitate the Afghan peace process for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. He stressed that this historic opportunity must be seized by Afghan parties to achieve an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive negotiated political settlement.

Several Agreements/MoUs were signed on the eve of the virtual summit including to develop further cooperation in the field of agriculture and defence cooperation.

An agreement was also reached on Mutual Recognition in the Fields of Conformity Assessment of Products, Standardization, Metrology and Technical Assistance.

President Mirziyoyev invited Prime Minister Imran Khan to attend the high-level International Conference on regional connectivity to be held in Tashkent in July 2021.  PM Imran Khan reiterated his invitation to visit Pakistan at the earliest convenience.

The two leaders expressed confidence that the understandings reached during the virtual summit will further deepen bilateral cooperation and contribute towards forging a stronger, multi-dimensional relationship between the two countries.