ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain on Friday said close cooperative relations with Afghanistan were based on mutual respect and trust and remained a high priority in Pakistan’s foreign policy.
He said Pakistan would continue to fully support a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
The President said this during the meeting with his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Ashraf Ghani here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.
Briefing about the meeting of the two presidents, Press Secretary to the President Ms Saba Mohsin Raza said the Afghan President was warmly received by President Mamnoon Hussain upon his arrival at the Presidency.
She said during the meeting, which was held in a very cordial atmosphere, the two presidents discussed the whole gamut of issues ranging from bilateral relations to further cementing mutual cooperation and from the common challenges to further strengthening economic, trade and people-to-people contacts for the mutual benefit of the people of two countries.
President Mamnoon during the meeting said that peaceful democratic transition of power and formation of national unity government in Afghanistan was a landmark achievement of the people of neighborly country.
He said Pakistan fully supported the vision of the new Afghan leadership for a prosperous Afghanistan. Peace and stability in Afghanistan were in Pakistan’s vital interests and it had consistently supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process, he added.
Referring to the shared concerns of the two countries, the President said terrorism was a common enemy and the two sides must make joint efforts to defeat it.
He said Pakistan remained committed to providing assistance in training and capacity building of the Afghan security forces.
Discussing mutual trade and economic relations, the President said further expansion of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations and greater trade and economic collaboration between the two countries was essential to realize full economic potential for the mutual benefit of the two countries and for peace, stability and development in the region.
“We need to undertake joint efforts to achieve the target of enhancing bilateral trade to the tune of $ 5 billion,” said the President.
He also underscored the need for early completion of regional energy and connectivity projects like CASA-1000 and TAPI.
On further cementing people-to-people contacts, the President said enhanced people-to-people contacts between the two brotherly countries would further fortify their deep rooted relations.
Both sides should work closely to further strengthen parliamentary, academic, media and civil society contacts, he added.
Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani thanked President Mamnoon Hussain for the warm welcome extended to him by the Government of Pakistan.
He expressed keen desire of the government and the people of Afghanistan to further strengthen bilateral relations with the people and government of Pakistan in all areas of mutual interest.
Those, who attended the meeting from Pakistan side, included Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Minister for Finance Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Commerce Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan and Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources Jam Kamal Khan.
Secretary to the President Ahmed Farooq, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Press Secretary Ms Saba Mohsin were also present, besides other senior officials.
The Afghan side comprised Special Envoy to the President, Ahmad Zia Masoud, First Deputy Chief Executive, Muhammad Khan, Acting Minister of Education, Dr Farooq Wardak, Acting Minister of Tribal Affairs, Akram Khpalwak, Advisor to the President, Anwarulhaq Ahadi, Advisor to the President, Daud Sultanzoi, Ambassador of Afghanistan, Janan Mosazai, Member of Wolesi Jirga (National Assembly), Nematullah Ghafari, Member of Senate, Ms. Roshan Ara Alokozai, Acting Spokesman to the President, Nazifullah Salarzai and others.
Later, the President also hosted a banquet in honors of his Afghan counterpart at Aiwan-e-Sadr which was attended among others by federal ministers, services chiefs, parliamentarians, ambassadors, business representatives and senior officials.