BANGKOK, April 29: Thailand on Thursday welcomed Pakistan's decision to join the Asean's treaty of amity, saying it reflected Islamabad's earnest desire to promote peace and prosperity in the greater Asia-Pacific region.

During formal talks held between Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and his Thai counterpart Thaksin Shinawatra at the Government House, Thailand also extended full support to Pakistan's joining of the Asean's Regional Forum (ARF).

Laos and Cambodia have already endorsed Pakistan's bid to enter the ARF, the region's only security grouping with 23 countries as its members. Thailand welcomed Pakistan's decision to sign the treaty of amity that renounces use of force and calls for greater economic and political cooperation.

It said the decision to join the treaty signified Pakistan's desire to ensure peace and stability and have good neighbourly relations with all countries in the region.

Pakistan will join those regional countries which have already acceded to the treaty as the non-Southeast members. The treaty is Asean's founding non-aggression pact aimed at promoting regional stability.

Mr Jamali and Mr Thaksin held extensive discussions on promoting bilateral relations with special focus on cementing economic ties. "The discussions were held in a very cordial and warm atmosphere and in a constructive manner," official sources told APP after the meeting.

The two sides held talks on a 'comprehensive economic partnership' and decided to form a joint study group to develop the institutional framework. The two countries explored several new avenues to boost trade, particularly in the areas of science and technology, bio-technology, bio-technology resource energy, agriculture, food-processing, construction and housing.

Pakistan and Thailand currently have a trade volume of $300 million in which Pakistan's share is $60 million. The two countries agreed to correct the imbalance. The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on joint efforts to combat terrorism and crime and another MoU on protecting investment.

The MoU on terrorism and other crime set the framework for the two nations to work more closely on intelligence information gathering and sharing and to combat human trafficking. In a joint protocol, also signed at the meeting, the two countries pledged to enhance trade and economic cooperation to the benefit of their peoples.

Thai government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair said: "He (Jamali) invited Thai businessmen to invest in oil and natural gas". Mr Thaksin accepted an invitation from Mr Jamali to visit Pakistan. Mr Jamali had an audience with Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej at his seaside palace. -Agencies

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