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Accord to boost ties with Czech Republic

May 10, 2007

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ISLAMABAD, May 9: Pakistan and the Czech Republic agreed on Wednesday to promote relations in trade, health, scientific and diplomatic fields. The two countries signed four agreements after Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek held talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shaukat Aziz.

This is the first visit by a Czech prime minister to Pakistan.

Topolanek, who arrived here late Tuesday on a three-day visit, said his country wanted a strong diplomatic presence in Pakistan.

“We will soon open two honorary consulates in this country,” he said.

Islamabad opened its diplomatic mission in Prague recently.

“We have given a clear indication of our intent to enhance ties with Pakistan in trade, commerce, cultural, scientific and health fields,” the Czech prime minister told a joint press conference with Aziz.

He said the Czech government was keen in strengthening diplomatic ties with Pakistan and intended to open two Honorary Consulates in the country.

Topolanek's delegation also includes business representatives from the Czech Republic who were due to hold separate talks with their Pakistani counterparts on private sector cooperation between the two countries.

Officials said the two prime ministers exchanged views on regional and international issues, including the situation in Afghanistan and the on-going peace process between Pakistan and India.

Topolanek said the situation in Afghanistan was difficult “but we should give Afghans hope for prosperity and a good future”.

He said the Czech Republic also took part in peace keeping in Afghanistan and believed that reconstruction in the worn-torn country was not possible without the presence of military. A small contingent of Czech soldiers is serving in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

“We also appreciate Pakistan’s role in bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he said.

Mr Topolanek said the international community was aware of the problems Pakistan was facing in the repatriation of Afghan refugees.

Later, Prime Minister Aziz said the discussions also focused on inter-faith and inter-civilization harmony, adding Islam being the predominant faith in Pakistan also promoted harmony.

He said both countries stood for peace and prosperity and wanted to see a better tomorrow for the entire world.

To a question on Pakistan's role in bringing stability in Afghanistan, the prime minister said Pakistan believed in a strong and stable Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan believed in Afghanistan dealing with its internal matters, especially controlling drug money and return of refugees.—Agencies