LONDON: The United Kingdom on Thursday vowed to build on a deeper and stronger relationship with Pakistan and agreed on building up ties in trade, defence, health and education sectors.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron after a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani categorically stated that the United Kingdom will be an enduring friend to the government and people of Pakistan.
“Both countries are committed to working together as equals to create the conditions for greater prosperity and security in Pakistan and the UK,” a joint statement issued at the end of the talks said.
Gilani and Cameron discussed trade, economic growth and development, cultural co-operation, security and education at the 10 Downing Street and reviewed the progress being made since the two leaders made the commitment in April 2011 in Islamabad for a deeper and broader dialogue between the two countries.
The dialogue is aimed at strengthening friendship and promoting mutual prosperity and security.
The two leaders also took into account the global economic crisis and agreed that it requires both the countries to make tough decisions to deliver future growth and prosperity. It was also agreed to have a regular dialogue between the governments on economic reform.
Gilani and Cameron also discussed the shared national security challenges and the cooperation in counter-terrorism. They reviewed the outcome of the meeting of the Joint Working Group which met in October and the National Security Discussions between the civilian and military experts in this regard.
A Joint Statement issued after the First Annual Summit of the UK-Pakistan Enhanced Strategic Dialogue noted that since its launch in 2011, the dialogue between the UK and Pakistan has become deeper and broader.
Gilani and Cameron also launched a Trade and Investment Roadmap, setting out the steps both governments will take to promote investment, support business and achieve the target of increasing bilateral trade to œ2.5 billion by 2015.
Gilani pledged his government’s full support in ensuring an enabling business environment to attract and sustain UK trade with, and investment in, Pakistan.
Gilani also expressed appreciation for the UK’s consistent support to Pakistan for enhanced market access to the European Union. He hoped that the UK would continue to support Pakistan’s request for GSP+ and early finalisation of Autonomous Trade Preferences package.
They agreed to continue regular dialogue between their governments on economic reform recognising that economic stability and setting the conditions for enduring growth are key priorities to ensure prosperity for future generations.
Both prime ministers committed to preventing illegal migration as it harms people both in Pakistan and the UK. They agreed to continue to work closely under existing agreements on returning to Pakistan individuals who have no legal right to remain in the UK. On Security and Defence, both Pakistan and the UK evinced an unwavering commitment to work together to combat the menace of terrorism and extremism which threatens the people of both countries.
During the meeting at the 10 Downing, the two prime ministers held in-depth discussions on regional and international issues of mutual interest.