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Adviser's Remarks at the Joint Press Stakeout with the Foreign Minister of Oman (08 May 2017)

(2017-05-08) I welcome my brother and dear friend, the Foreign Minister of our brotherly nation the Sultanate of Oman, Mr. Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah on his visit to Pakistan. I also very fondly remember the wonderful hospitality offered to me and my delegation during my visit to Muscat last year in September. During my visit I had had the opportunity to comprehensively review the traditionally close relations between our two countries. Foreign Minister Yousuf bin Alawi's presence here today is indicative of the closeness and depth in our bilateral relationship. We really appreciate the great vision and sagacious leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos and for the importance he has always attached to Oman's relations with Pakistan. Pakistan also attaches great importance to its relations with Oman. We take great pride in Oman's success and development in recent years.

Today once again I had the opportunity to review the progress we have made in our relations since last year. We have discussed ideas to enhance existing cooperation between Pakistan and Oman in all areas including culture, trade, commerce, investments, people to people contacts and regional connectivity. We also reviewed the pace of work on early completion of a number of important MoUs and agreements under consideration on both sides.

Both Pakistan and Oman enjoy unique geo-economic locations. We discussed the ways and means to join hands and become a bridge for the countries and regions surrounding us to promote greater regional connectivity and economic momentum for the ultimate objective of achieving stability, development and prosperity of our peoples.

Oman has been playing an important stabilizing role in regional and international affairs. We share perceptions on a number of important matters of mutual interest and issues related to promotion of regional peace and stability. We have agreed that there should be more regular political dialogue on such issues to promote these understandings even further. Pakistan and Oman have also been traditional partners supporting each other on various international fora and lobby for each other's candidatures in various international bodies.

Oman is Pakistan's closest maritime neighbour, just 202 nautical miles away, sharing intimate bonds of affinity with our region, particularly in Gwadar and Balochistan. We have excellent opportunities to take advantage of the complementarities between our economies and the proximity that we enjoy. These commonalities are a great omen for forging a deeper political and economic partnership.

Closer linkages between our maritime interfaces, airports and seaports by availing the new opportunities offered by CPEC and Gwadar port project were discussed. It was agreed that the concerned authorities should have more regular interactions to suggest the best ways forward in making use of these opportunities. Matters related to enhancement of investment by private Omani companies and the necessary facilitation required by them in this regard also came up during our discussions. Issues concerning enhancement of bilateral trade were also discussed.

Regular exchange of high level visits between Pakistan and Oman has strengthened our friendship. Visit of the Chairman State Council (Upper House) Dr. Yahya bin Mahfoudh Al Mantheri to Pakistan in January 2017 has further strengthened the bilateral relationship with the establishment of a closer linkage between our two Parliaments. We look forward for more frequent exchanges between our Parliamentarians in future.

Oman holds special significance for Pakistan in view of its geographical proximity and hosting of over 0.25 Million Pakistani Diaspora. As such it is the 3rd largest destination country for Pakistani workers, which themselves are the 3rd largest expatriate community in Oman. We hope that in future these bonds will strengthen further.