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Gilani calls for early conclusion of Free Trade Agreement between US, Pak

June 8, 2011 - Islamabad

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has impressed upon the United States that Pakistan prefers trade, rather than aid.

Gilani called for an early conclusion of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between both nations to promote economic activities and address the issue of poverty and unemployment, particularly in under-developed and militancy-hit areas.

He was talking to a US Congressional delegation led by Doug Lamborn, which called on him at the PM's House in Islamabad, The Nation reports

While underlining Pakistan's strong commitment to cooperate with the US in defeating the common enemy of terrorism and militancy, Gilani stressed on the need for concerted efforts by both sides to bridge the trust deficit through reinforced cooperation in intelligence sharing, joint action against Al Qaeda and its affiliates, as well as progress on various segments of strategic dialogue in multi-faceted fields.

He termed Pak-US relationship as significant in the context of how they can shape the future of this region, and called for joint endeavours to ensure maximum utilisation of the potential for economic development in Afghanistan as well as the region at large.

The members of US Congressional delegation termed Pakistan as an extremely important country in the world in the war against terrorism and for defeating violent extremism.

They assured Gilani that despite strong sentiments in US Congress for reducing the budget deficit and cutting down on foreign aid, the economic assistance to Pakistan would continue.

They also welcomed Gilani's proposal for Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and the US, and recognised the need that America should help Pakistan address the root causes of extremism to win the hearts and minds of people of Pakistan in the larger interest of continuing the strategic partnership.


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