Prime Minister stresses for stronger Pakistan-Cuba ties
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21/03/11  ISLAMABAD -Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Monday, stressing for stronger ties between Pakistan and Cuba, called for adding substance to them, particularly in economic and commercial fields, by capitalizing over the huge reservoir of goodwill that exists among their peoples.

The Prime Minister was talking to Jesus Zenen Buergo Concepcion, Ambassador of Cuba, who called on him at the PMís House here.

The Prime Minister thanked the leadership and the government of Cuba for its generous relief assistance provided in the aftermath of devastating earthquake of October 2005 by deploying the largest contingent of doctors and paramedics of 2,465 personnel for a period of more than six months in Pakistan.

He also appreciated the Cuban gesture of offering 1,000 fully paid medical scholarships for Pakistani students and for Cubaís instrumental role for securing the United Nations Award in the field of human rights for Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed in 2008.

Noting that the Bilateral Cooperation Agreement, signed in 2009 by Pakistan and Cuba, had provided a framework for enhanced economic and trade ties, the Prime Minister called for both sides to look into the possibilities of selective border trade.

The Prime Minister said that fighting the menace of Hepatitis- B in Pakistan was his personal initiative and Pakistan and Cuba could cooperate through joint ventures in production of vaccine for the Hepatitis-B as well as joint ventures in the fields of bio-technologies.

The Prime Minister also called for early formation of a Joint Economic Commission, which he hoped, would facilitate the commencement of formal trade between the two countries.

The Prime Minister underlined the importance of people-to- people contacts and exchange of parliamentary delegations as well as high level contacts between Pakistan and Cuba and proposed formation of Friendship Groups of Pakistan and Cuba in the both countriesí parliaments.

The Prime Minister hoped that Pakistanís Ministry of Sports and Cuban Institute of Sports, Physical Training and Recreation would sign the Agreement of Bilateral Cooperation in near future.

He informed the Ambassador that business and investment delegations from Pakistan would be sent to Cuba to look into the practical possibilities of increasing trade and investment ties. He assured the Ambassador that his government would lend full support to him for his efforts to bring Pakistan and Cuba ever closer.

The Cuban Ambassador thanked the Prime Minister for his governmentís full assistance to him in carrying out his duties. He informed the Prime Minister that he was working for the visit of Pakistanís Minister for Sports to Cuba for signing of the Agreement on Cooperation.

He also sought the Prime Ministerís support for visit of Pakistanís trade and investment delegations to Cuba in near future particularly to focus on cooperation in the areas of bio- technologies, production of Hepatitis-B vaccine as well as sharing of technology in the pharmaceutical and medical equipment.

He assured the Prime Minister that he would focus upon further strengthening of political as well as economic and commercial ties during the tenure of his duties in Islamabad.

The meeting was also attended by senior officers.


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