ISLAMABAD - President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday urged his Egyptian counterpart Dr Muhammad Morsi to help efforts to end the bloodshed in Syria and find a solution to the crisis.
Zardari made the remarks during talks with Morsi who arrived in Pakistan as part of a South Asian tour that will also take him to India as he works to promote trade and investment in Egypt’s troubled economy.
Zardari “urged for working together to end the bloodshed in Syria and to find a peaceful solution to the crisis,” presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said in a statement after the talks.
Zardari also stressed that “the drive for peace in Syria must be led and owned by the Syrian people and offered Pakistan’s readiness to play its role,” Babar said.
“President Morsi expressed his deep desire to cultivate close relations with Pakistan and stated that Pakistan and Egypt are two pillars of the Islamic world,” Babar said.
Pakistan and Egypt Monday also signed five memoranda of understanding (MoUs) on an executive programme for cooperation in different fields.
Officials from the two countries signed agreements to promote cooperation in shipping, investment, information technology and science and technology.
Presidents of both the countries witnessed the signing ceremony. The Egyptian ambassador to Pakistan Saeed Hindam and secretaries of Pakistan’s concerned departments signed the documents.
These include MoUs for cooperation in the field of money orders and international postal services; cooperation in the field of merchant shipping; MoU between Board of Investment of Pakistan and General Authority of Free Zones and Investment of Egypt; cooperation between Middle East News Agency and Associated Press of Pakistan‚ the 3rd Executive Programme for Scientific and Technological Cooperation between Pakistan and Egypt for 2013 to 2015; and MoU between Small and Medium Enterprizes Development Authority of Pakistan and Special Fund for Development of Egypt.
President Zardari, speaking at the luncheon hosted in honour of Dr Muhammad Morsi, said Pakistan was keen to build a close and strong relationship with Egypt and the two countries should work together for the common good of the Ummah and for peace in the region.
The luncheon was attended among others by Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, former federal ministers, senators, former members of National Assembly and services chiefs.
The president said Pakistan was keen to further strengthen relations with Egypt at all levels and in all fields. He said there was great deal of goodwill between people of the two countries and there was need to employ it for taking forward the relationship to new heights.
He said at this difficult time, the Muslim Ummah must shun differences and forge unity. “It is time for unity and time for following the teachings of our great religion, which preaches peace and amity,” he said.
“Pakistan appreciates Egypt for supporting the cause of Muslim Ummah and its efforts for promoting regional peace and stability. Pakistan believes that Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty must be respected,” he maintained. He said interference from the outside would only complicate a complex situation and will have serious consequences for the neighbouring countries.
The President said, “Our historic friendship is rooted in common faith and cultural affinities and your visit is another milestone in our friendly relations.”
Zardari paid tribute to Egyptian President’s long struggle for democracy‚ rule of law and respect for human rights in Egypt.
He said, “We need to work together to add greater substance to these ties.”
Earlier‚ one-on-one meeting between President Zardari and Dr Morsi was held at Aiwan-e-Sadr. Later delegation level talks began between the two countries focusing on bilateral relations‚ regional situation and international issues of mutual importance.
Warm welcome was accorded to President Morsi when he arrived at the Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad. He was received by President Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. On his arrival, Morsi was given a 21-gun salute and guard of honour at Noor Khan air base Islamabad.
He is the first civilian democratically-elected president of Egypt to visit Pakistan.
Morsi’s one-day trip is the first bilateral visit by an Egyptian leader since Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1960s.