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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said Pakistan would facilitate Uzbekistan to get access to its seaports of Gwadar and Karachi in a bid to enhance regional connectivity and trade.

In a meeting with Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Abdlaziz Kamilov here at the PM House, the Prime Minister said Pakistan offered a shortest route to international seas to all Central Asian Republics including Uzbekistan and could prove as a gateway to landlocked Central Asia.

Imran Khan expressed Pakistan’s resolve to forge closer ties with Uzbekistan and other countries of Central Asia in areas of trade, investment, energy, and people-to-people exchanges.

Expressing appreciation for the proposed Trans-Afghan railway project between Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, he underscored Pakistan’s commitment to support all efforts for the earliest realization of the important connectivity project.

Prime Minister Imran Khan fondly recalled his interactions with President Mirziyoyev in Beijing and Bishkek and reiterated his invitation to the Uzbek President to visit Pakistan at the earliest convenience.

Underlining the historic and civilizational links between the two countries, the PM said that Pakistan highly valued its close fraternal ties with Uzbekistan and wished to deepen bilateral cooperation in all areas.

The Prime Minister particularly emphasized that enhanced trade and regional connectivity were the cornerstones of economic growth and development.

Prime Minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s steadfast support to the Afghan peace process, stressing the imperative of negotiated political solution. The Prime Minister hoped that the Afghan sides will seize this historic opportunity to work together constructively and secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive negotiated political settlement.

In the context of South Asia, the Prime Minister underscored that durable peace and economic development in the region hinged on peaceful resolution of long-standing unresolved disputes.

Foreign Minister Kamilov conveyed cordial greetings of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and reiterated Uzbekistan’s commitment to expand bilateral cooperation with Pakistan in diverse fields.

He also handed over a letter from President Mirziyoyev addressed to Prime Minister Imran Khan, inviting him to participate in a Central Asia-South Asia Connectivity Conference in Tashkent in July 2021.

Prime Minister thanked for the invitation and mentioned that he was looking forward to visiting Uzbekistan.

The meeting was attended by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and senior government officials of Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

The Uzbek Foreign Minister arrived in Islamabad on a two-day official visit on Tuesday.

Relations between Pakistan and Uzbekistan are based on common faith, shared history and cultural affinities. These linkages provide a strong foundation for increased bilateral cooperation in myriad fields.

Both countries have been closely collaborating at regional and international fora, especially at United Nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Economic Cooperation Organization and Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The two countries are also closely cooperating to enhance regional connectivity, especially by early construction of Trans-Afghan Railway Project between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

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