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He hoped that Bahrain would continue to give preference to the manpower from Pakistan to meet its requirements in the skilled and non-skilled sectors. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said on Thursday that Pakistan attached very high importance to its fraternal and cordial ties with the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Talking to Lt Gen Shaikh Mohammad Bin Isa Bin Salman Al- Khalifa, Commander National Guards of Bahrain, the Prime Minister said he was looking forward to his official visit to Bahrain in the first quarter of 2011 to add new impetus to the political, defence, economic, labour and manpower cooperation between the two sides.

Expressing his satisfaction with the ongoing defence cooperation between the two countries, the Prime Minister hoped that the Draft Agreement in this important field, currently under consideration, would soon be finalized.

He also proposed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on bilateral cooperation in the field of labour and manpower to the mutual benefit of both the countries.

He hoped that Bahrain would continue to give preference to the manpower from Pakistan to meet its requirements in the skilled and non-skilled sectors.

Dilating on the trade and economic relations between the two sides, the Prime Minister called for Bahrain's pro-active role in starting negotiations on Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

Lt Gen Shaikh Mohammad Bin Isa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa termed Pakistan as his second home. He said that Pakistan was the country which was held in the highest esteem by the leadership and the people of Bahrain.

He assured the Prime Minister that while Bahrain has already supported Pakistan's cause at international fora and bilaterally, Pakistan can depend on this support even in future as well.

He expressed his satisfaction on his talks with the defence authorities of Pakistan and pledged his full support for enhanced cooperation between Pakistan and Bahrain in the defence and labour and manpower fields.

He also stated that Pakistan's request for Bahrain's role in initiating Free Trade Agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries would be communicated to his country's leadership and during the Bahraini Foreign Minister forthcoming visit to Pakistan in Feb 2011, this subject would be further discussed along with the whole gambit of bilateral relations between the two sides.