Gilani holds wide-ranging talks with Kuwaiti counterpart

KUWAIT: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Monday held wide-ranging talks to bolster their existing close and multi-faceted relations in diverse fields, particularly in the areas of trade and economy.Gilani, who was here in the oil-rich Gulf state on a two-day official visit, first held an exclusive meeting with the Kuwaiti Prime Minister before going into delegation level talks, aimed at further strengthening political, trade, investment and economic ties between the two brotherly nations.During the one-to-one as well as delegation levels talks, which were held in a very cordial atmosphere, the two sides discussed at length the prospects of increased bilateral cooperation in various fields, with particular focus on expansion of ties in economic, commercial, investment, manpower, energy and defense sectors.There was unanimity of views on various issues of regional and international importance, as the two sides also exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan, Middle East, war against terrorism and Pakistan’s role for peace and stability of the region.During the delegation level talks, Gilani was assisted by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Chairman Board of Investment Salim Mandviwala and senior officials.Prime Minister Gilani apprised the Kuwaiti counterpart of the multiple security and economic challenges faced by Pakistan as well as the impact of last year’s devastating floods on economy and said Pakistan needs the support of its true friends like Kuwait at this critical juncture to override these economic challenges.He in this respect sought extension of the existing Kuwaiti credit facility for supplying High Speed Diesel (HSD) to Pakistan till the end of 2012, on at least 90 days deferred payment basis.The Prime Minister said that the Kuwaiti government should encourage Kuwait Fund and Kuwait Investment Authority for financing Pakistan’s development projects and investing in diverse sectors of the country’s economy.The Prime Minister, who was on his first visit to Kuwait since assuming office in 2008, congratulated Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammad Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Kuwait’s 50th Independence, 20th Liberation Anniversary and 5th Anniversary of Amir’s accession.Gilani expressed his gratitude for the people and government of Kuwait for their generous support to Pakistan in difficult times, particularly during the 2005 earthquake and the recent floods.

The Prime Minister thanked Kuwait for hosting around 150,000 Pakistanis, who are working in diverse fields in Kuwait, and said recruitment of more skilled and semi-skilled Pakistani manpower would help our country overcome rise in unemployment.He in this respect also sought lifting of visa restrictions imposed on Pakistanis by the Government of Kuwait, as it has caused enormous difficulties for our businessmen, bankers and other professionals intending to visit Kuwait.Gilani also called for increased defense cooperation through military exchanges as well as the parliamentary cooperation through exchange of visits of parliamentary delegations.The Prime Minister appreciating the role of Sabah family and Kuwaiti leadership in strengthening bilateral relations with Pakistan as well as their close association with Bhutto family said during all the PPP governments in Pakistan, there has been a marked upswing in Pakistan-Kuwait bilateral relations.After the talks Pakistan and Kuwait signed an agreement to promote and protect investment in each other’s countries. Salim Mandviwala, Chairman Board and Investment and Kuwaiti Finance Minister Mustafa Jassim signed the agreement on behalf of their respective governments in presence of the two Prime Ministers.Later, the Prime Minister of Kuwait hosted a banquet for Prime Minister Gilani and his entourage – APP