PM arrives in Uzbekistan to attend SCO regional security bloc summit

SAMARKAND: The prime minister arrived in Uzbekistan Thursday on a two-day state visit to attend the annual meeting of the heads of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) being held in the historical city of Samarkand on September 15-16.

Abdulla Aripov, prime minister of Uzbekistan, received Shehbaz Sharif on his arrival at the Samarkand International Airport. The prime minister is accompanied by a high-level delegation including his ministers for foreign affairs, defense and finance as well as the foreign secretary.

In a tweet prior to his departure, the prime minister said Pakistan reiterated its commitment to the so-called “Shanghai Spirit” of the event.

“Mutual respect and trust can be the bedrock of shared development and prosperity,” he said.

Sharif said the SCO had a great potential to chart a way forward at a time of deeply worrying transformation in the geo-political and geo-economic fields.

“The global economic turbulence has necessitated the need for more cooperation among the SCO member countries. The SCO vision represents the aspirations of 40 percent of the world population,” he said.

On the first day of his visit, the prime minister held separate meetings with Shavkat Mirziyoyev, president of Uzbekistan, and Emomali Rahmon, president of Tajikistan.

Sharif is scheduled to meet participating world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, and Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Japarov.

Immediately after his arrival at the airport, the prime minister proceeded to the Hazrat Khizr Mosque, where he will visit the mosque and will also pay respects at the mausoleum of Uzbekistan’s first president, Islam Karimov.

The prime minister will attend the banquet hosted by the Uzbek president in honour of the guest leaders.

SHARIF, HOST PRESIDENT EXPLORE MUTUAL INTERESTS

Meanwhile, Sharif also held a meeting with Rahmon wherein he discussed matters of bilateral and regional importance.

The two leaders met on the sidelines of the summit.

The meeting focused on the ways and means to strengthen the relationship between Islamabad and Tashkent in fields including trade, economy, energy and people-to-people contacts.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and senior officials were also present on the occasion.

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