Pakistan tells Tajikistan to stop supply of illegal arms

President Asif Zardari and Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon (right) agreed to initiate a strategic dialogue on regional peace, security and development and cooperation in the energy sector

President Asif Zardari and Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon (right) agreed to initiate a strategic dialogue on regional peace, security and development and cooperation in the energy sector

DUSHANBE: Pakistan and Tajikistan pledged on Wednesday to intensify their efforts to curb militancy.

President Asif Zardari said he would work with President Emomali Rakhmon to stem the flow of weapons and ammunition to militants.

The Tajik leader urged President Zardari to work in close cooperation to prevent instability in Central Asia.

The two states ‘condemn terrorism and extremism in all their forms and manifestations and express their readiness to cooperate closely, bilaterally… in combating these twin threats’, said a memorandum signed by the leaders.

It said the two countries would deepen cooperation to fight terrorism and stem the flow of weapons across the region.

‘It (terrorism) threatens my brother’s country, it threatens my country and it threatens the neighbourhood. So once again I reiterate that we will stand together against this threat of the 21st Century,’ President Zardari said at a joint news conference.

‘We stand together against this threat and have decided to cooperate in other areas as well,’ he said. ‘We are looking forward to strengthening our cooperation.’

The two countries agreed to initiate a strategic dialogue on regional peace, security and development and cooperation in the energy sector.

They agreed to establish electricity networks and to implement a 1,000MW Central Asia-South Asia project.

‘Both sides agreed to undertake further studies and measures needed for its implementation and invited international organisations and financial institutions to contribute funding to the project,’ said the joint statement.

The two leaders vowed to explore and establish transit and transportation corridors, including direct air flights to link their countries.

Mr Zardari said the two countries had agreed to enhance cooperation in banking and transportation sectors.

He said Tajikistan could use Pakistan’s land routes and ports which would bring trade and economic benefit to the two nations.

The leaders stressed the importance of greater interaction between the private sectors of the two countries.

President Rakhmon said more needed to be done to maintain stability in the region.

Illegal arms caught by Security Forces

Illegal arms caught by Security Forces

‘The two sides have also emphasised principal positions on fighting against terrorism and extremism.

‘We do share similar and close positions on these issues and our countries should have taken coordinated actions aimed against this antagonistic phenomenon,’ he said.

President Zardari and the Tajikistan leader had a one-to-one meeting before they were joined by their delegations.

They also witnessed the signing by their foreign ministers of a protocol on exchange of instruments of ratification of an agreement on the promotion and protection of investments and an agreement for cooperation between their ministries for 2009-12.

Separately, the two sides signed a framework cooperation agreement between the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Tajikistan Chamber of Industry for strengthening cooperation between the private sectors of the two countries.

The presidents of Pakistan, Russia, Afghanistan and Tajikistan are to meet here on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told AFP: ‘We keep an eye on the border and we try and monitor it, but you also have to recognise the fact that we have a very long border with Afghanistan.

‘The terrain is very hostile and it’s a porous border so you cannot really be 100 per cent sure that every movement that has taken place has come in your notice.’

He said Pakistan would be seeking greater cooperation from Russia in blocking the flow of arms into the region and fighting drug trafficking.—Agencies

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