TASHKENT - Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that establishment of peace in Afghanistan was inevitable for stability in the region.

Addressing at the banquet, hosted by Uzbek President Islam Karimov in his honour at Kuksaroy Presidential Palace, the Prime Minister said that his government desired to maintain good ties with all countries, including India and Afghanistan.

Referring to various steps taken by his government against extremism and terrorism, he said that Pakistan had initiated the comprehensive operation Zarb-e-Azb against the menace that was coming to fruition as law and order situation was improving due to the efforts of the law enforcement agencies.

He said that during the meeting with the Uzbek President, the matters of mutual interest, including cooperation in economy, energy and other sectors, were discussed.

Nawaz Sharif said there was also need to enhance bilateral cooperation in the fields of climate change, agriculture and science and technology. The Prime Minister said that his government desired to build an energy infrastructure corridor to enhance connectivity with the Central Asian states. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor had great importance for the region, he added. He also extended an invitation to the Uzbek President to visit Pakistan.

President Islam Karimov, in his address, said that Pakistan was an important player in the region as well as the world owing to its geographical and geo-political situation. He said that there was need for coordinated efforts and cooperation to tackle the challenge of terrorism and those misusing name of Islam for terrorism had nothing to do with Islam that taught peace, tolerance and brotherhood. He also lauded the economic development of Pakistan under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Meanwhile, Pakistan and Uzbekistan signed four documents to strengthen the bilateral cooperation in economy, trade and foreign affairs.

The signing ceremony was held at Kuksaroy Presidential Palace that was witnessed by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Uzbek President Islam Karimov.

The Prime Minister is on a two-day official visit to Uzbekistan alongwith a high level delegation reflecting his high priority and broader commitment to further deepen Pakistan’s engagement with the Central Asia. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Uzbek President signed a joint statement encompassing the discussions and commitments two leaders made during their meeting.

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A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and Uzbek Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment to enhance bilateral trade.

Special Assistant to PM on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and Uzbek Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade Ganiey Elyor Majidovich signed the document. The Ministries of Foreign Affairs of both the countries signed a protocol to enhance cooperation between the two Ministries.

The document was signed by Special Assistant to PM on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov.

Another protocol was signed between two countries for establishing an inter-government arrangement to avoid double taxation.