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Pakistan, Maldives sign four MoUs to boost cooperation

Islamabad, May 7 (IANS) Pakistan and the Maldives on Thursday signed four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to increase cooperation in various fields including curbing narcotics smuggling, officials said.

Maldivian President Abdulla Yaameen Abdul Gayoom and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif witnessed the signing ceremony after they held official talks, the PM’s office said.

The MoUs relate to sports, health, education and narcotics. These would help in further consolidating bilateral relations, Xinhua reported.

Under one MoU, both countries will strengthen a mechanism for combating illicit trafficking and abuse of narcotics drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors.

Other MoUs are related to cooperation in sports, health and education.

Pakistan and the Maldives are members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) that also groups Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The Maldives president arrived in Islamabad on a two-day official visit on Wednesday evening and held formal talks with Sharif on Thursday.

Speaking at a joint press conference, the two leaders said they reviewed the whole aspect of bilateral ties and focused expanding cooperation in the fields of defence and tourism.

The prime minister said Pakistan was aware of Maldives’ concerns on climate and environmental issues and was willing to cooperate on these issues bilaterally with Maldives as well as under the ambit of Saarc.

“Pakistan and Maldives must continue to closely coordinate their positions on the platform of Saarc with an aim to make it a model of regional cooperation, based on the principles of sovereign equality,” Sharif said.

The prime minister said bilateral trade between Pakistan and Maldives was below the true potential and emphasised that steps should be taken to increase it.

The Maldivian president said bilateral ties in defence, infrastructure and human resource have been expanded and hoped that mutual cooperation in other fields would also be increased as a result of his visit.

He termed his visit as opening of a new era of cooperation between the two countries.

He urged Sharif to visit the Maldives and participate in the Independence Day celebrations.

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