ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain Thursday said Pakistan desired to build a broad based, substantive and long-term relationship with Belarus in all fields including trade, economic, education, defence, and culture— a sentiment resonated by his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko.
Welcoming the President of the Republic of Belarus at Aiwan-e-Sadr, Mamnoon Hussain said Pakistan valued its ties with Belarus and both countries enjoyed a warm and cordial relationship.
The two dignitaries first had a one-on-one meeting which was followed by delegation-level talks.
President Mamnoon hoped that enhanced interactions between the two countries in the recent past would further increase in the times ahead.
He noted that the opening of a Resident Mission of Belarus in Islamabad last November had greatly contributed towards enhancing bilateral ties.
Mamnoon Hussain said the two countries had immense potential for economic and commercial relations, adding that the current trade volume could be substantially enhanced.
He said Pakistan offered excellent opportunities for foreign investors with investment-friendly regulations and a huge market of over 180 million people. Belarusian investors could make use of the incentives provided by the Government of Pakistan in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), said President Mamnoon.
He noted that the holding of the first Pakistan-Belarus Business and Investment Forum in Islamabad on May 25, 2015, was a positive development.
President Mamnoon hoped that the Pakistan-Belarus Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meeting this fall in Minsk would be beneficial in enhancing trade and economic relations between the two countries.
He said Pakistan had been the worst victim of terrorism and had immensely suffered human and material losses in violent terrorist attacks, adding that Pakistan was committed to rooting out the scourge of terrorism from its soil.
He said that the ongoing military operation— Zarb-i-Azb— was against all terrorists and would continue till the menace of terrorism and extremism is eliminated.
Speaking on the occasion, the president of Belarus said Pakistan was not responsible for spreading terrorism in the world, adding that such allegations against Pakistan were a misperception.
Lukashenko said his country was also keen to expand cooperation and partnership with Pakistan in all areas of mutual interest to further cement bilateral ties.
President Alexander Lukashenko offered assistance in procuring land and construction of a Pakistani Embassy in Belarus. He also extended an invitation to President Mamnoon Hussain to visit Belarus.
President Mamnoon Hussain later hosted a state banquet in the honour of his Belarusian counterpart.
PM Nawaz receives President Lukashenko
Earlier today, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko was received by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at Nur Khan airbase upon his arrival in Islamabad on a two-day state visit at the invitation of President Mamnoon Hussain.
|President Lukashenko and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at Nur Khan airbase. ─ DawnNews screengrab|
This is the first visit by a Belarusian president to Pakistan, reports Radio Pakistan. Lukashenko was welcomed at Nur Khan airbase with a 21 gun salute.
The visiting dignitary was presented bouquets of flowers by two children in traditional garb.
President Lukashenko will hold meetings with Mamnoon Hussain and Nawaz Sharif during the course of his visit, and a number of important agreements and memoranda of understanding are expected to be signed between the two countries.
Belarus established its resident mission in Islamabad in November 2014.
The visit by the Belarusian president is a step towards strengthening existing ties between Belarus and Pakistan.