Gilani arrives in UK to boost trade, strategic ties

Published May 08, 2012 06:26pm

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani being received by a senior British official on arrival at airport in London on Tuesday. – Photo by APP

LONDON: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani arrived here on Tuesday on a five-day visit to participate in the first Pak-UK summit level review of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue and to work on the ambitious plan to raise bilateral trade to 2.5 billion pound sterling.

Prime Minister Gilani will meet his British counterpart David Cameron, besides having an in-depth interaction with members of the British cabinet, parliamentarians, prominent businessmen, investors and leading media persons.

Accompanied by a high level delegation including Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Commerce Minister Makhdoom Ameen Faheem, Minister of Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Minister of State Raza Hayat Hiraj, Chairman Board of Investment Saleem Mandviwala, parliamentarians from PML-Q, MQM and PPP and senior officials, Gilani would further strengthen the multifaceted bilateral ties between the two countries.

At the airport, the prime minister and his entourage were received by Pakistan's High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hassan and senior officials.

Gilani will also launch a Trade and Investment Roadmap to enhance trade to 2.5 billion pound sterling by 2015, set by British Prime Minister David Cameron last year.

The first annual review meeting on Enhanced Strategic Dialogue will provide an opportunity to the leaders of the two countries to take decisions for charting the way forward in five strands of cooperation.

The dialogue was formally launched during the official visit of the British prime minister to Pakistan in April 2011 and covers five areas of bilateral cooperation including trade and business, finance and development assistance, education and health, culture, and defence and security.

The United Kingdom is Pakistan's second largest trading partner and largest development partner among the EU countries.

PM Cameron allocated 650 million pounds sterling for four million out-of-school children in Pakistan for receiving primary education.

Gilani will personally convey his gratitude to the UK for consistently advancing Pakistan's case for enhanced market access to the EU, and supports Pakistan for GSP+ status.

He will also attend a function being arranged by British Pakistan Foundation, address a community gathering and lay the foundation-stone of the Consular Hall at the Pakistan High Commission.

A source at the Foreign Office termed Gilani's visit hectic and with meetings lined up with the Duke of York, a reception for UK parliamentarians, launch of Conservative Friends of Pakistan group that would be attended by the British prime minister and Baroness Warsi.

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