Musharraf meets Thaksin: FTA between Thailand, Pakistan in Offing
By Shiraz Afzal - Pakistan Times Special Correspondent
21 June 2005
BANGKOK (Thailand): Pakistan and Thailand moved closer to free trade pact as leaders of the two countries moved closer for establishing an agreement on the topic after they met over the weekend, credible sources said here on Monday.
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra discussed the plan with Pakistan’s President Gen. Pervez Musharraf on Sunday evening at Bangkok’s international airport, where the Pakistani leader stopped on his return from Australia and New Zealand, the Thai News Agency reported.
They also discussed bilateral relations and cooperation, the report said.
Thai PM appreciated Pakistan’s quest for peaceful resolution of all issues with India. They discussed matters relating to enhancement of bilateral relations and regional and international issues.
The two leaders also discussed ways and means to increase economic, trade and political ties for the mutual benefit of the two countries. Promotion of tourism between the two countries also came under review.
President Musharraf briefed Thai Prime Minister Shinawatra about Pakistan’s efforts to establish lasting peace in South Asia by resolving all issues, including Kashmir dispute, through dialogue.
The Thai Prime Minister appreciated Pakistan’s peace efforts for the resolution of all outstanding disputes, including Kashmir, through peaceful means with India.
He also reiterated his country’s support for Pakistan’s bid to attain full dialogue partnership with ASEAN.
President Pervez Musharraf thanked Thai Prime Minister Shinawatra for supporting Pakistan to become part of ASEAN process.
The President made a brief stopover in Bangkok on his way back home after completing six-day visit to Australia and New Zealand.
Musharraf on Poverty
And a report from Auckland says that President Musharraf has termed his New Zealand tour very successful and said that this would yield a number of positive results.
Talking to newsmen at the Auckland Airport, the President said that his tour would definitely help further strengthen economic and trade links between Pakistan and New Zealand. He said that he was on six-day tour to Australian and New Zealand.
To a question, he said that he held in-depth discussions with the leadership of New Zealand on a host of issues, including terrorism and bilateral relations, adding that this would help further improve economic and trade ties between the two countries.
To another question, he said that the poverty and unemployment were the biggest challenge for the world at the moment, adding that it (world) should concentrate on alleviating poverty and ending unemployment.
‘We want the people to lead a prosperous and comfortable life, but this is only possible when the country is rid of the problems of poverty and unemployment,’ he remarked.
To a query, he said that Pakistan was a key country in South Asia, adding ‘we are continuing our efforts for the establishment of peace in the region and we want all the issues, including Kashmir, to be resolved through dialogue.’
The visit was aimed at reinvigorating Pakistan’s relations with the two countries by forging cooperation in economic, trade, agriculture, education, security and other fields.
The President, during his stay, held wide-ranging talks with the leadership of Australia and New Zealand on bilateral relations and regional and international situation, including UN Security Council reforms.
President Musharraf returned home Monday from a six-day visit to Australia and New Zealand, saying it gave him the opportunity to outline Islamabad’s efforts in the war on terrorism, the state-run news agency reported.
"The visit has resulted in favorable understanding of our policies, particularly Pakistan’s efforts against terror to make the world a safer place to live in."
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz received the President at the airbase.
Chairman Senate Mohammadmian Soomro, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Vice Chief of the Army Staff and senior officials were also present.
Talking to newsmen in aircraft, Musharraf termed its tour as major success. He said that Pakistan role in war against terror gained international praised which is privileged for the country.
During his visit, Musharraf had discussed issues of bilateral interests, war against terror, Pak- India dialogue, reforms in United Nations and other international and regional issues with the leadership of the two countries.
Musharraf allied Pakistan with the U.S.-led global terrorism fight following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
During Musharraf’s visit to Australia, another close Washington ally, the two countries signed an agreement to boost cooperation in fighting terrorism. In New Zealand, Musharraf asked for help in modernizing Pakistan’s dairy industry.
On his way home, Musharraf held talks with Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra during a stop over in Thailand. The two leaders discussed subjects with reference to economic cooperation—in specifoic.●