Pakistan, Bhutan agree to expand cooperation to achieve economic development

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Bhutan agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in areas of health, education, culture environment, tourism and human resource management to promote social and economic development. Following is the text of a joint statement issued by Foreign Office here on Sunday at the conclusion of the visit of Prime Minister of Bhutan Lyonchhen Jigmi Y Thinley to Pakistan from 18-20 March. At the invitation of His Excellency Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, His Excellency Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bhutan and Chair of the Sixteenth SAARC Summit visited Islamabad from 18-20 March, 2011. The Honourable Prime Minister of Bhutan was accompanied by H.E.  Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk, the Minister for Economic Affairs and Minister in Charge of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Dasho Tashi Phuntshog, Cabinet Secretary, H.E. Dasho Daw Penjo, Foreign Secretary, H.E.  Dasho Bap Kesang, Ambassador of Bhutan to Pakistan and other senior officials. His Excellency the Prime Minister of Bhutan was accorded a ceremonial reception on arrival at Islamabad.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and Prime Minister Jigmi Y.  Thinley held a formal meeting on 19 March 2011 during which views were exchanged on a wide range of issues of common interest. The discussions were marked by cordiality, warmth, mutual respect and mutual understanding.Both leaders highlighting the friendly bonds between the two countries that spanned several centuries, agreed that there was tremendous potential to transform the goodwill that existed for each other into substantive bilateral relations by undertaking cooperation in areas such as culture, health, education, environment, tourism, human resource development and cottage industries.In this regard, the two leaders acknowledged the importance of engaging in regular consultations at various levels for strengthening bilateral relations.The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the cooperation between the two countries at the multilateral foras. They also called for greater cooperation among SAARC member states at the multilateral forums.

Recalling his visit to Thimphu in April 2010, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani congratulated Bhutan for successfully hosting the 16th SAARC Summit and commended the contribution being made by Bhutan to strengthen SAARC under the leadership of Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley. Both Prime Ministers agreed that the Thimphu SAARC Spirit should be carried forward for promoting peace, stability and the well being of the people of South Asia.Both leaders acknowledged the importance of SAARC in furthering regional cooperation in South Asia, reiterated their commitment to SAARC and also emphasized the importance of promoting inter-regional development cooperation.The Honourable Prime Minister of Bhutan visited the Parliament House in Islamabad where H.E. Mr. Farooq H. Naek, Chairman of the Pakistan Senate hosted a lunch in his honour.H.E. Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the Minister of Finance and H.E.  Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs called on the Prime Minister of Bhutan. The Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bhutan also visited Taxila, a world heritage site.The Prime Minister of Bhutan expressed deep appreciation for the cordial welcome and warm hospitality extended to him and members of his delegation during their visit to Pakistan – APP