President Arif Alvi on Sunday said that peace in Afghanistan is key to regional connectivity among members of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO).
The president made these remarks while addressing the 15th Summit of the heads of states of the ECO in Turkmenistan.
Alvi noted that the spectre of economic collapse looms large in Afghanistan due to winter, which could lead to a complete collapse of the war-torn country and push it towards chaos once again.
He said peace in Afghanistan was essential for peace in ECO countries, adding that the Afghan people should particularly be helped in the education and health sectors.
"We must come together to promote economic stability and sustainability in Afghanistan," Alvi said, adding that the unilateral sanctions worsen human suffering and have adverse consequences for the region.
The president emphasised that there was danger of refugee influx in case of economic collapse in Afghanistan, adding that Pakistan has done an "outstanding job" by hosting at least four million refugees during their "difficult times".
On the prevailing coronavirus situation, Alvi said that the ECO states suffered due to the pandemic, resulting in globalised inflation. The government in Pakistan is providing targeted support to the poor to cushion the impact of inflation, he added.
The president further stated that the ECO should join other developing countries in promoting a common development agenda for sustainable growth.
Alvi said Pakistan will propose a development agenda in the next meeting in China that calls for a complete overhaul of the redistribution of $650 billion of SDRs, large concessional financing, $100 billion to developing countries to fight climate change and an end to the illicit flow of money that impoverished the developing countries as well as the return of stolen assets.
"An equitable trading environment and a fair global taxation regime are essential," he added.
The president also urged the ECO countries to move towards greater virtual integration to increase the trade volume, adding that the ECO states have all elements needed for economic growth.
Alvi arrived in the Turkmenistan capital on a two-day visit to attend the 15th ECO summit.
He also met different heads of states on the sidelines of the ECO summit.
In his meeting with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, both the leaders agreed to enhance bilateral trade and economic cooperation. They concurred to further strengthen the ECO to achieve its objectives.
The two leaders underlined the need for collective efforts of the region particularly of the Islamic countries to stop Islamophobia.
Alvi stressed the need to work together to tackle the challenges faced by the region. He thanked the Turkish president for Ankara’s principled stance on the issue of Kashmir.
Meanwhile, Alvi underscored the importance of regular convening of bilateral mechanisms between Pakistan and Iran for trade and economy, also emphasising the utilisation of barter trade mechanism.
He discussed the bilateral ties in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Seyed Ebrahim Raisi.
Alvi congratulated President Raisi on assuming the office of the President of Iran after his victory in recent elections.
He underlined that Pakistan considered Iran an important Muslim neighbour and brother based on deep-rooted historical, linguistic, religious and cultural linkages.
The two leaders expressed satisfaction on the regular high-level interactions which had reinforced different avenues of bilateral cooperation.
President Alvi highlighted that Pakistan accorded highest priority to shift geo-economic prosperity and regional connectivity agenda.
He thanked Iran’s consistent support to the Kashmir cause, particularly from the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.
Alvi also held a meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and exchanged views on bilateral ties, trade and economic cooperation.
He underscored the need for increasing political contacts between Pakistan and Azerbaijan.
In his meeting with his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon, both sides expressed satisfaction on the existing state of bilateral cooperation and reaffirmed commitment to continue joint efforts for further solidification of close ties.
President Alvi appreciated the momentum of high-level exchanges including the visit of President Rahmon to Pakistan in June 2021, and the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Tajikistan in September this year.
He underscored the importance of deepening trade and investment ties forging a stronger economic partnership.
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