DUSHANBE, June 2: President Gen Pervez Musharraf and Tajikistan Prime Minister Akil Aliclov discussed ways and means to improve economic and trade relations at a meeting in the State Guest Home on Sunday.

The president arrived here ahead of an Asian summit being held in Kazakhstan’s capital Almaty on Tuesday amid expectations that Pakistan and India would find a way to go back from the brink of war.

The Musharraf-Aliclov meeting took place just after the president arrived in the Central Asian state on a two-day official visit.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, Information Minister Nisar A. Memon said that the Tajik prime minister had spoken of the friendly relations between the two countries bound together by history, culture, religion and geography.

The prime minister told the president that in ten years of independence, under the leadership of President Emomali Rahmanov, both the government and opposition had worked together for the economic development and for the betterment of Tajik people. He emphasized the need to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries in hydro-electricity, communications, energy and trade sectors.

The prime minister expressed desire for the establishment of a network of roads linking Tajikistan with Pakistan through Afghanistan for access to the Indian Ocean.

He thanked Pakistan for extending a $20 million loan in 1994 and said that out of it $13 million had been spent on the economic development of his country.

He called for re-scheduling the loan over a long period and for the interest to be reduced because of the natural calamity which struck Tajikistan.

He put greater emphasis on promotion of bilateralism and economic development.

President Musharraf reciprocated the feelings of the Tajik premier and said that in the 21st century there was a greater need to cement old relations through trade and economic relations.

He said Pakistan wished to develop the road link through Afghanistan as well as re-schedule the debt to the satisfaction of Tajikistan.

The president noted that the world was moving forward very fast in all sectors of economy and there was a need to accept these challenges.

It was agreed to revive joint ministerial commission to discuss economic issues. Ways and means to move forward on various subjects were also discussed. Prime Minister Aliclov felicitated President Musharraf on the successful conduct of missile tests.

Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar, ISPR Director-General Maj-Gen Rashid Qureshi, and Pakistan ambassador to Tajikistan Abdul Majeed Khan were present during the talks.—APP

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