D-8 summit to boost Pakistan’s image: Hina
Pakistan will improve its image at the regional and international levels when the leaders of eight developing countries gather here for D-8 summit, to be inaugurated by President Asif Ali Zardari with a major focus on enhancing economic and trade cooperation among the member states. “Leaders of eight developing countries will arrive here for the Eighth Summit of Developing Eight (D-8) on November 22 on the invitation of President Asif Ali Zardari,” said Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar while addressing a press conference here on Monday.
She said that the event, which coincided with the 15th anniversary of the founding of D-8, would focus on the theme of “Democratic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity” as all the eight participants were vibrant democracies.
“The Islamabad summit is a major international event being hosted by Pakistan, which will enhance its image and standing,” she added.
Hina said that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan would attend the summit.
Malaysia is likely to be represented by the Deputy Prime Minister while a special representative from Bangladesh will also attend the summit, he added.
Replying to a question regarding alleged refusal of the Bangladeshi Prime Minister over a written apology for 1971 crimes, the Foreign Minister rejected the reports, saying that she had personally visited Bangladesh and she was not given any such demand.
Hina said that she was warmly welcomed by the Bangladeshi leadership and all such reports of demanding an apology from Pakistan were absolutely wrong.
Explaining the reasons for not attending the D-8 summit by the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister said that doctors had advised her not to travel due to some eye ailment.
Pakistan will take over the chairmanship of D-8 for the next two years, until 2014.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that the D-8 summit was of extraordinary significance as it would adopt the organization’s charter and its global vision. The leaders will witness signing of the charter by the foreign ministers at a special ceremony following the summit, she added.
She said that the leaders would also adopt Islamabad Declaration 2012 reaffirming their joint resolve for making concerted efforts to confront common challenges.
Hina Rabbani Khar said that on the margins of the summit, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf would hold bilateral meetings with the visiting leaders.
She said that the summit would witness the visit of an Egyptian President after four decades and that of a Nigerian leader after around 28 years.
She said that the visit of D-8 leaders to Pakistan would open new vistas for expanding trade and investment relations with all the D-8 countries as the main purpose of the summit was to promote trade, economic ties and promote people-to-people contacts.
She said that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Monday inaugurated the D-8 Trade Exhibition and would open D-8 Business Forum on Tuesday.
Both the events are the flagship events of the D-8 summit to be attended by top corporate leaders from Pakistan and other group members, she added.
Given the government’s efforts to promote interaction with the private sector, these business activities will provide a solid platform at which Pakistan’s public and private sector will be able to showcase wide possibilities in joint ventures and investment, she said.
The Foreign Minister said that the Business Forum would focus on infrastructure development, value-addition in the textile sector, opportunities of joint ventures in alternate energy, engineering, and agro-based industries.
She said that the leaders, foreign ministers, senior government officials, governors of central banks, heads of trade promotion organizations, business leaders and exhibitors would also participate in the main and sideline activities.
She said that prior to the summit, preparatory meetings of the D-8 Council of Ministers (comprising foreign ministers) and the D-8 Commission started from today.
The Foreign Minister said that the meeting of the governors of central banks of D-8 countries would make recommendations for cooperation on financial and monetary issues and promote the dialogue on the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) among the members. So far six countries out of the eight had already rectified the PTA except Bangladesh and Egypt, which she hoped, would also ratify the PTA soon.
She said that the summit would also discuss the impact of global economic crisis, cooperation through trade and capital inflows, and development finance.
The Foreign Minister said that a key element of the agenda of D-8 summit was trade promotion through implementation of agreements on preferential trade and visa facilitation for businessmen.
She said that Pakistan was keen to put in place a mechanism to facilitate private sector cooperation once the D-8 finalized modalities to implement three framework agreements on visa, customs matters and the Preferential Trade Agreement.
She said that the Trade Exhibition was aimed at showcasing Pakistani products and those of other member countries with a view to highlight their trade potential.
The Foreign Minister said that the combined population of D-8 was around one billion and a market of about one trillion dollars. The member countries envisage increasing intra D-8 trade from present volume of US$ 130 to over US$ 507 billion by 2018, she added.
She said that the summit would project Pakistan as a business destination in addition to underscoring the linkage of democracy with peace and development.
She said that the summit demonstrated Pakistan’s strong commitment to the D-8 process and its belief in finding solutions within the framework of South-South cooperation.
Replying to a question, the Foreign Minister said that so far the schedule of the Egyptian President was his participation in the D-8 summit followed by a bilateral visit.
The Foreign Minister said “We are trying to move from commitments to implementations”.
Answering a question with reference to sanctions against Iran, she said “We have to abide by international sanctions, which are approved by the United Nations but are against the unilateral sanctions against any country.”
About Pak-Russia relations, she said President Asif Ali Zardari and Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s visitsto Russia and the Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to Pakistan demonstrated that relations between the two countries were growing and lot of grounds had been covered within the diplomatic field.
Replying to a question about Pak-Afgan relations, she said that Pakistan gave due respect to the members of the High Peace Commission during its visit to Pakistan as it was representative of the people and the Government of Afghanistan.
The Foreign Minister said that Pakistan would extend full cooperation to the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
- Asian Tribune -