KATHMANDU - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Nepal’s prime minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli met here Monday and agreed to enhance cooperation in areas of economy, defence and culture.

Prime Minister Abbasi who arrived in the Himalayan city to felicitate his Nepalese counterpart on assuming the office of prime minister, said Pakistan welcomed completion of democratic process in Nepal and hoped that it would usher in an era of durable peace.

Abbasi said Pakistan fully supported Nepal’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity as a matter of prime importance. He said it was heartening that democratic process in Nepal was flourishing and emphasized that political stability was a key to economic development.

He said Pakistan and Nepal had remained good friends over the decades and there existed immense scope in collaboration in the fields of culture, tourism, sports and education.

The two leaders discussed South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) as an important platform to explore cooperation among regional countries for the benefit of their peoples.

It was highlighted that the economic relations did not match the political will existing between Pakistan and Nepal and thus needed to be further strengthened.

The two leaders emphasised on the need to reactivate Pakistan Nepal Joint Economic Commission and the Joint Business Council to increase bilateral trade. It was also agreed to strengthen people-to-people contacts. Both the leaders expressed satisfaction over the cooperation between the two countries at international fora. The ways to reinvigorate SAARC as an important regional organisation was also discussed.

Later, Prime Minister Abbasi and Prime Minister Oli led delegation-level talks of their respective sides, which was attended by Pakistani delegates and Nepalese cabinet members.

Nepali PM hosts banquet

for PM Abbasi

Prime Minister Abbasi attended a banquet dinner hosted in his honour by Nepal’s Prime Minister Sharma Oli Monday evening. The banquet was joined by senior officials of the Nepal government and Pakistani delegates.

Earlier, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday was accorded guard of honour at Nepal’s Army Pavilion as he arrived in the capital of Himalayan country on a two-day official visit.

Nepal’s Prime Minister received Abbasi on his visit to the Pavilion in Tundikhel – one of important historic landmarks situated in the heart of Kathmandu. The two prime ministers were escorted by Nepalese Chief of Army Staff General Rajendra Chhetri to the saluting dais.

A contingent of Nepal Army presented salute to the Pakistani leader. National anthems of Pakistan and Nepal were played and the canons boomed a 21-gun salute at the venue.

Prime Minister Abbasi reviewed the parade along with his Nepalese counterpart Khadga Prasad Oli. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is the first world leader who has been accorded guard of honour at Nepal’s Army Pavilion.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abbasi said SAARC was an important forum which required serious and sincere efforts by the member countries to explore its true potential.

Talking to Secretary General of SAARC Amjad Hussain B Sial who called on him here. Abbasi said Pakistan was committed to play a constructive role in Saarc.

Prime Minister Abbasi emphasised that SAARC believed in sovereignty of its member nations and thus was beneficial in making way forward for peace, stability and progress in the region.

Amjad Hussain who belongs to Pakistan’s Foreign Service and was appointed Secretary General SAARC in 2017 at the current chair Nepal, updated the Prime Minister on the recent activities of SAARC.