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SOCHI: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has called upon the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member countries to fully harness the true potential they possess and cautioned them against the politicisation of economic development and connectivity projects as such a myopic approach would only hold back the collective progress.

“Today, we are witnessing a historic opportunity for the SCO to truly have a trans-continental reach. In the coming decades, it would emerge as an important global geopolitical and geo-economic force. Let us harness the SCO’s potential and competencies for our mutual advantage. We stand ready to contribute to this collective endeavour.”

According to a statement issued on Friday, in a meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government, the premier said that after becoming a full member of the SCO, Pakistan was all set to bring more vitality to the organisation as it possessed tremendous potential for global, regional trade and economic activities.

He said the SCO held tremendous potential for connectivity, trade, energy and economic development. It could lead to progress and prosperity of the entire region.

Says Pakistan will bring more vitality to Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

The prime minister said trade and economic cooperation held the key to the SCO regions long-term stability, progress and prosperity. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is the pioneering project of the One Belt and One Road Initiative, complements the SCOs vision of connectivity and economic integration, he added.

He said that Pakistan wanted to see the CPEC connected to the six main trade corridors of the SCO as it would help fulfil the long cherished aspiration for land and maritime connectivity between Europe, Central Asia, China and South Asia. Pakistan, he added, was also pursuing projects such as CASA-1000 and TAPI Pipe­line Project to promote reg­ional energy connectivity.

Free trade zone with Pakistan

China is willing to carry out key infrastructure projects and discuss a free trade zone with Pakistan, Premier Li Keqiang has said during a meeting with PM Abbasi in Sochi, Russia.

Mr Li said both countries had maintained well-promoted cooperation in various fields and made progress in building the CPEC over the past four years, China Daily reported on Friday.

China would like to promote cooperation in production capacity and discuss a free trade zone, which can promote balanced trade and strengthen enterprise ties for both nations, he said.

Meeting with Kyrgyzstan PM

PM Abbasi and Kyrgyzstan Prime Minister Sapar Isakov have agreed to further enhance their countries’ cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, including trade and defence.

They also stressed on the need for greater cooperation between the chambers of commerce and industry of the two countries.

During a meeting on Friday, both prime ministers exchanged views on ways to enhance cooperation in the framework of the SCO as well as bilaterally.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2017