CPEC beneficial for all regional countries: Aziz

ISLAMABAD – Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Sunday that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project was beneficial for all regional countries.

In a meeting with Foreign Minister of Bahrain Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Mohammed Al-Khalifa here, the adviser said that the CPEC, including its Gwadar Port project, has emerged as a remarkable means to enhance the economic depth of regional countries.

He said that Pakistan was ready to connect various surrounding regions for a win-win outcome for all, said a foreign ministry statement.

The adviser also briefed the Bahraini side on Pakistan’s achievements in decisively subduing the menace of terrorism through its successful Zarb-e-Azb operation.  Aziz said that stability achieved by Pakistan would immensely contribute in crystallising an environment of peace, prosperity and economic development in the region.

The Bahraini foreign minister arrived earlier in the day along with a high-level delegation to co-chair the inaugural session of Pakistan-Bahrain Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) with Aziz.

Soon after his arrival, both sides held a meeting to review the dynamism and scope of existing relations between the two countries. The meeting was also attended by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and other senior officials.

Appreciating the consistent development of bilateral relations in all areas of mutual cooperation, both the leaders welcomed the up-gradation of the Joint Economic Committee to the level of Joint Ministerial Commission.

Aziz highlighted that the ministerial commission will serve as a regular platform to discuss cooperation in all areas of mutual interest.

Aziz and Al-Khalifa exchanged views on possibilities of improving bilateral economic cooperation while highlighting that regular business-to-business interactions were the key in this regard.

The adviser expressed gratitude to King of Bahrain for facilitating the convening of the first Pakistan-Bahrain Business Opportunity Conference in Manama, in September 2016.  The second session of the conference, being held in Pakistan in March 2017, will further boost commercial linkages between the countries. The adviser also thanked the King of Bahrain for the generous gift of Nursing Training University to Pakistan which has become an icon of Pakistan-Bahrain friendship, said the foreign ministry statement.

The project was jointly inaugurated in Islamabad last month by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Lt-Gen Sheikh Mohamed Bin Isa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa, Commander National Guards of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Underscoring the substantial potential on both sides, the adviser said that the warm political relations between Pakistan and Bahrain were the foundation to strengthen cooperation in economic and trade sector.

He said that the current investment policy of Pakistan had created an investment friendly environment, guaranteeing equal treatment of foreign and domestic investors.

Aziz invited Bahraini businessmen to invest in Pakistan, especially in the energy, infrastructure and agriculture sectors, urging them to take advantage of the lucrative incentives on the offer for foreign investors.

Al-Khalifa reiterated that Pakistan-Bahrain relations reflected a consistently strong bond of friendship which was devoid of any irritant or divergence of interest on important issues.

He said that Bahrain highly appreciated the notable success Pakistan had achieved in defeating the scourge of terrorism which has contributed to regional peace and stability.

The Bahraini foreign minister also expressed his satisfaction over the strength contributed to the bilateral relationship through close cooperation in defence and security areas.  He said that Bahrain remained eager to strengthen the already strong Pakistan-Gulf Cooperation Council relations even further.

He said that Bahrain, currently holding the chair of GCC, will make serious efforts to reinforce this important relationship, for the benefit of all sides in the region.