Asia’s challenges can only be resolved through constructive engagement, cooperative spirit: President

ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain has said that numerous challenges facing Asia can only be resolved through constructive engagement and cooperative spirit.

The President was in Shanghai to represent Pakistan at the two- day Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA). He said CICA is a useful forum to pursue these objectives.

He said confidence building measures and peaceful resolution of disputes would help achieve the objectives of collective security.

President Mamnoon said Pakistan fully supports the need for greater regional connectivity through the construction and linkage of essential infrastructure particularly roads, rails and the sea- lanes.

Infrastructure development and linkage will stimulate investment, lead to an exchange of ideas, provide job opportunities and connect market comprising billions of consumers, he said.

Guided by this vision, the President said Pakistan and China are closely cooperating to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and hoped that this project will contribute to the economic development of not only the two countries but also of the entire region.

The President said Pakistan will continue to contribute towards the realization of the vision of peace and security in Asia, based upon dialogue, cooperation and mutual understanding, as conceived in the form of CICA in 1992.

The President said Pakistan seeks friendship and good- neighbourly relations with India and said the government of Pakistan stands ready to engage in a meaningful and sustained dialogue with the new government in India to address outstanding issues and establish friendly and cooperative bilateral relations.

Mamnoon Hussain said a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is essential for peace and stability of the entire region. Pakistan will continue to support an inclusive, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, he added.

He said Pakistan is committed to work together with Afghanistan to expand mutual trade and economic cooperation and stand in solidarity with the Afghan brethren as they brave the natural calamity in Badakhshan province.

The President said Pakistan is desirous of seeing a stable and peaceful Middle East and added that it will also continue to support the just aspirations of the people of Palestine.

He said Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and the people of Pakistan have borne the brunt of this scourge for the past many years.

He stressed that it was imperative that the global struggle against terrorism was waged within the framework of international law and in full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states.

Eleven heads of state and a head of government including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, 10 chiefs of international organizations were among those attending the summit.

During his stay, President Mamnoon Hussain also met the Chinese President, XI Jinping, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa on sidelines of the summit.

The President also inaugurated first Urdu-Chinese dictionary and said that it would further consolidate relationship between the two friendly countries.

In his meeting with the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, he said the multifaceted strategic partnership between Pakistan and China with increased focus on economic and trade ties would usher in a new era of socio-economic progress and prosperity for the people of both countries and the region.

In his meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, President Mamnoon Hussain said Pakistan was keen to promote its friendly relations with the neighboring countries and sought greater linkages and mutual interactions especially economic and trade relations for the mutual benefit of the people of region.

The UN Secretary General expressed satisfaction over the government’s efforts towards finding solution to the issue of extremism, stabilizing the economy of the country and following growth oriented policies to promote socio-economic growth and development.

He appreciated the government and the people of Pakistan for their positive role towards promoting regional peace, especially in the neighboring Afghanistan and also hosting Afghan refugees.

In his meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart Rajapaksa in Shanghai the President underlined the need for regional countries to forge close cooperative relationships to overcome shared challenges and promote mutual economic cooperation for the socio-economic betterment of their people.

President Mamnoon said it was important for the regional countries to strengthen bilateral and multifaceted cooperation.

The President along with his Chinese counterpart also witnessed Pakistan and China agreement ceremony on 27 kilometer long elevated mass transit Lahore Orange Line metro project.