ASHGABAT  - President Asif Ali Zardari Wednesday said Pakistan attaches priority to the $7.6 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and shares Turkmenistan’s resolve to see it implemented as early as possible.

In a meeting with Turkmen President Dr Gurbanguly M Berdimuhamedov, Zardari discussed host of issues ranging from bilateral relations to promoting cooperation in all areas, especially on expanding ties in energy and trade sectors.

The President is accompanied by Dr Asim Hussain and former ministers Hina Rabbani Khar and Rehman Malik, during his two-day visit to Turkmenistan.

Zardari said Turkmenistan could help meet Pakistan’s growing energy requirements, while Pakistan could provide trade corridor to Turkmenistan, overland and through its sea-ports.

Pakistan, facing a serious energy shortfall, has been seeking alternative sources of energy. President Zardari, along with Iranian President Dr Mahmoud Ahmdinejad, recently performed ground-breaking ceremony of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, the peace pipeline project. Zardari said Pakistan fully supports Turkmen initiative to establish trans-regional energy corridors.

Discussing bilateral relations, the President said the bilateral ties reflect the warm sentiments of fraternity and brotherhood between the two peoples. He said there was a need to explore new avenues of cooperation in commercial and economic areas and the measures need to be taken to increase bilateral trade in order to further cement our bilateral relations.

In this context, the President said the respective authorities of the two countries should identify trade-able items, expand trade and economic cooperation.

The President during meeting also proposed that the two countries may consider entering into a currency swap agreement and the governors of central banks of the two sides might meet to discuss cooperation in financial and banking sectors.

Meanwhile, President Zardari and his Tajik counterpart President Emomali Rahmonov reiterated their resolve to boost bilateral economic and trade ties through enhanced linkages and greater regional connectivity in order to fully benefit from the rich potential that exists between the two countries.

During a meeting, both presidents underscored the need for taking all necessary measures to further strengthen the economic ties between two countries.

The President while reiterating his proposal of Trilateral Transit and Trade Agreement among Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan said that such an arrangement would help boosting our economic relations and expressed the hope for its early finalisation and implementation.

He expressed satisfaction that Pakistan-Tajikistan bilateral trade has increased from 15 million dollars in 2011 to over 72 million in 2012. A Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and accord the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status on reciprocal basis would provide impetus to efforts aimed at enhancing our mutual economic interactions, the President proposed.

Zardari noted with satisfaction the success of Fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA-V) held in Dushanbe in March 2012, and urged for expeditious implementation of the projects mentioned in the Declaration of RECCA-V