Pakistan and Uzbekistan Strengthen Ties: A Step Towards Regional Integration

In a significant development, Pakistan and Uzbekistan have expressed their commitment to finalize a Strategic Partnership Agreement to bolster regional economic integration. The announcement came during a bilateral meeting between Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar and Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the sidelines of the 16th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in Tashkent.

 

The leaders discussed various facets of bilateral cooperation, emphasizing their dedication to playing an active role in regional connectivity. Prime Minister Kakar highlighted the importance of sustaining the growing momentum in bilateral ties and pointed out that the recent operationalization of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and Transit Trade Agreement (UPTTA) would significantly enhance bilateral and transit trade. Moreover, these agreements are expected to streamline the Economic Cooperation Organization Trade Agreement (ECOTA).

 

The leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to the early completion of the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan railway project, a move that could have far-reaching positive implications for regional connectivity and economic collaboration.

 

Beyond economic matters, Prime Minister Kakar and President Mirziyoyev discussed the ongoing humanitarian situation in Gaza and delved into various regional and global developments.

 

In addition to the bilateral meeting, Prime Minister Kakar engaged with the Secretary General of ECO, Ambassador Khusrav Noziri. They reviewed recent developments within the organization, focusing on trade, connectivity, and economic cooperation.

 

Prime Minister Kakar’s two-day visit to Tashkent for the 16th ECO Summit underscores Pakistan’s commitment to the ECO Vision 2025. The summit provides a platform for reaffirming dedication to regional cooperation in trade, transport, connectivity, energy, tourism, and economic growth and productivity.

 

Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani emphasized Pakistan’s determination to achieve the goals outlined in the ‘ECO Vision 2025,’ citing the need to boost intra-regional trade. He noted that, currently, ECO intra-regional trade accounts for less than eight percent of the region’s total trade, a figure starkly contrasting with other regional groupings like the European Union, where intra-regional trade exceeds 70 percent.

 

As Pakistan actively participates in the 16th ECO Summit, the discussions and commitments made during these meetings mark a crucial step toward fostering stronger ties and achieving greater regional integration. The focus on economic cooperation and connectivity initiatives signals a positive trajectory for both Pakistan and Uzbekistan, contributing to the broader goals of ECO Vision 2025.

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