UNITED NATIONS - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Wednesday he would be ‘very happy’ to meet his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh to discuss the resumption of peace efforts between the two South Asian countries.
In a brief reaction to reporters after the Indian premier confirmed that he would be meeting the Pakistani leader, Nawaz Sharif said: “I will be very happy to meet him and we hope to pick up the threads from where we left in 1999.”
The meeting on the margins of the UN General Assembly session is expected to be held on Sept 29. The prime minister has invited Singh for a breakfast, according to sources.
It will be the two leaders’ first meeting since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif swept to power in May this year and is being held against the backdrop of tensions between the two countries following incidents of firing across the Line of Control in Kashmir.
Meanwhile, Kashmiris living in and around New York plan to hold a protest demonstration when the Indian prime minister addresses the UN General Assembly on September 28.
According to AFP, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a statement in New Delhi said “During my visit to New York, I also look forward to bilateral meetings with the leaders of some of our neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.”
Agencies add: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for a development agenda that is not based on aid alone but promotes market access and economic partnerships among developing and developed countries to achieve the goal of sustainable development. “I am an advocate of trade not aid; market access, economic partnerships, and transfer of technology and scientific knowhow” the Prime Minister said in his key note address at the High level Political Forum on Sustainable Development here on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister was invited by the President of UN General Assembly to share his ideas and suggestions on the issue of Global partnerships for development to create jobs and improve sustainable lifestyles.
Nawaz stated that he was against aid because it creates dependency.
He said that efforts that have been made by the United Nations as “poverty is still stalking the earth. Climate change has made our planet extremely fragile and vulnerable”. He asked the Forum to focus on jobs creation.
He stated that as politicians and leaders of our nations, we all know that jobs sit at the heart of growing economies, good governance and political stability.
He said that the government was investing maximum time and energy in reviving the economy and taking our growth from the present 3.6 per cent to more than 7 per cent in next five years.
This will give a strong stimulus to agriculture, industry, trade and services and create millions of new jobs. The government is also giving incentives to the private sector to generate maximum employment, the Prime Minister concluded.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi called on the Prime Minster on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Pakistan and China enjoy time tested relations marked by close cooperation in political, economic, defence relations.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister recalled his recent visit to China and expressed satisfaction on the economic, trade and investment projects that would bind the people of the two countries and promote economic welfare for the whole region. It was agreed that the two countries would intensify the follow-up and implementation of the agreed projects, especially the priority project of Pakistan-China Economic Corridor, Karachi to Lahore Motorway, and subway in Karachi and Lahore, for the common benefit of the people two countries.
The two sides discussed regional developments and also underlined the need for close bilateral cooperation to counter terrorism.
Bill Gates, Co-chair and Founder of Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, also called on the Prime Minister on Tuesday on the sidelines of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The Prime Minister appreciated Bill Gates continued interest and support for the polio eradication in Pakistan.
The Prime Minister informed Bill Gates that his govt had redoubled its efforts to ensure effective implementation of the National Emergency Action Plan to completely eradicate polio in Pakistan.
The Prime Minister also shared with Bill Gates his government’s vision on science and technology promotion. In this regard, the Prime Minister highlighted the importance of IT and telecommunication sector, especially its job creation potential for the youth of Pakistan.
The govt was particularly committed to increase IT related exports, introduction of E-government Framework and establishment of Technology Parks, he stated.
Bill Gates appreciated the efforts made by Pakistan in the last two years on polio eradication.
He recognised government’s commitment to reach all the Pakistani children with polio vaccine for the eradication of this disease. Bill Gates thanked the Prime Minister for sharing his vision on further strengthening Pakistan’s IT and Telecommunication sector.