KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and his Nepalese counterpart Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli met on Monday and agreed to enhance cooperation in areas of economy, defence and culture.
Mr Abbasi, who arrived in the Himalayan city to felicitate Mr Oli on assuming the office of prime minister, said Pakistan welcomed completion of democratic process in Nepal and hoped it would usher in an era of a durable peace.
The prime minister said Pakistan supported Nepal’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity as a matter of prime importance.
He said it was heartening that the democratic process in Nepal was flourishing and emphasised that political stability was a key to economic development.
Mr Abbasi said Pakistan and Nepal had remained good friends for decades and there existed immense scope in collaboration in the fields of culture, tourism, sports and education.
The two leaders also discussed the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) as an important platform to explore cooperation among regional countries for the benefit of their peoples.
The two leaders stressed the need for activating the Pakistan-Nepal Joint Economic Commission and the Joint Business Council to increase bilateral trade. It was also agreed to strengthen people-to-people contacts.
Both leaders expressed satisfaction over the cooperation between the two countries at international fora. They also discussed the ways to reinvigorate Saarc as an important regional organisation.
Later, Prime Minister Abbasi and Mr Oli led delegation-level dialogue of their respective sides, which was attended by Pakistani delegates and Nepalese cabinet members.
Meanwhile, talking to Saarc secretary general Amjad B. Sial, Mr Abbasi said Saarc was an important forum which required serious and sincere efforts by member countries to explore its true potential. Mr Abbasi said that Pakistan was committed to playing a constructive role in Saarc.
Mr Sial, who belongs to Pakistan’s Foreign Service and was appointed secretary general of Saarc in 2017, briefed the prime minister on the activities of the organisation.
Earlier, Mr Abbasi was accorded a guard of honour at Nepal’s Army Pavilion when he arrived in the capital of the Himalayan country on a two-day official visit.
Prime Minister Oli welcomed Mr Abbasi at the Pavilion in Tundikhel, one of important historic landmarks in the heart of Kathmandu.
The two leaders were escorted by Nepal’s Chief of Army Staff Gen Rajendra Chhetri to the saluting dais.
Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2018