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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudi Gazette report
MANAMA — Bahrain Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad, who is also the country’s prime minister, met here on Thursday with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
During the meeting, Prince Salman underlined the importance of strengthening bilateral relations, including cooperation against COVID-19, which requires strong coordination and solidarity from the international community.
For his part, Qureshi expressed his appreciation for the support extended by the crown prince toward strengthened bilateral and COVID-19 cooperation.
Commenting on the meeting between Prince Salman and Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said that the Bahraini foreign minister expressed appreciation for the contribution made by Pakistani expatriates towards Bahrain’s progress and economic development. Prince Salman also highlighted the close cooperation extended by in the development of Bahrain’s defense and security capabilities.
The meeting was attended by Bahrain’s Foreign Abdullatif Al Zayani, Finance and National Economy Minister Shaikh Salman Bin Khalifa.
Qureshi, who is on a two-day official visit to the kingdom leading a delegation for the Bahraini-Pakistan Joint Ministerial Committee, also met on Thursday with Bahrain’s Interior Minister Gen. Shaikh Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa.
The meeting reviewed counterterrorism cooperation and coordination, as well as bilateral coordination in fighting narcotics and human trafficking.
According to a statement released by the Pakistan foreign ministry, the two ministers exchanged views on issues of mutual interest.
The Pakistani foreign minister appreciated the role of Bahrain’s interior ministry in facilitating the Pakistan community in Bahrain during the COVID-19 pandemic, by launching a visa amnesty scheme; waiver of fines; and repatriation of pardoned prisoners, and stranded Pakistanis.
Acknowledging the important contribution of the Pakistani expatriate community in the development of Bahrain, Shaikh Rashid reiterated the commitment of the government of Bahrain to provide a safe and secure environment to Pakistani expatriates in Bahrain.
On Wednesday, Qureshi attended the 2nd Meeting of the Bahrain-Pakistan Joint Ministerial Commission in Manama, which was co-chaired by his Bahraini counterpart Al Zayani.
During the meeting, Al Zayani welcomed the Pakistani delegation and expressed his keen interest in furthering the deep-rooted bilateral relationship between the two countries.
He highlighted the importance of high-level visits, which contributed to strengthening and consolidating those relations, recalling the visit of King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa to Pakistan in February 2014, and the visit to Bahrain by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Dec. 16, 2019.
Al Zayani commended the contribution of the expatriate Pakistani community to Bahrain’s development, which comes in line with the humanitarian directives of the king, and in accordance with true Bahraini values and principles.
He noted that Bahrain was keen to extend its utmost care to the Pakistani residents throughout the COVID pandemic, including healthcare, testing, vaccinations, visa extensions and support, and that Bahrain will continue to do all that is needed to assure the safety and health of its citizens and residents.
Al Zayani also expressed that he looks forward to constructive and productive discussions on these issues, and the opportunity to explore areas of cooperation and to operationalize existing agreements and MoUs, in order to reach the best outcomes in this meeting.
Qureshi thanked the Bahraini side for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to Al Zayani and his delegation.
He highlighted the longstanding relations between Bahrain and Pakistan, characterized by a spirit of friendship and solidarity.
The Pakistani foreign minister further observed that the experience and expertise acquired by both countries in many spheres over time could be shared for their mutual benefit. He emphasized the need to expand economic ties between the two countries.
The two sides highlighted the importance of the regular meetings of established bilateral mechanisms and high-level bilateral visits.
The meeting focused on bilateral cooperation in various sectors including political, economic, commerce, finance and banking, industry, public health, overseas employment, higher education, science and technology, information, culture and arts, agriculture and livestock, and technical cooperation.
Both sides held fruitful discussions and agreed to work together for B2B interaction between businessmen of two sides, finalization of MoU between Trade Development Authority Pakistan and Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority, cooperation for joint investment in the industrial sector, and holding expert-level meetings of joint working groups in agriculture, Trade & Investment, labor and manpower, oil and gas sector and IT sector, as well as higher education.
On the sidelines of the JMC, an MoU between the Bahrain Development Board (EDB) and the Board of Investment of Pakistan was also signed to promote bilateral investment between the two friendly countries.
Both sides also resolved to implement the decisions reached during the 2nd Session expeditiously and finalize at the earliest, the MoUs/Agreements under consideration. Both sides agreed in principle to hold the 3rd Meeting of the Pakistan-Bahrain Joint Ministerial Commission in Islamabad in 2022.
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