UAE ‘Committed’ to Pakistan’s Progress and Security: Minister

DUBAI - UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan has affirmed that the UAE is committed to advance efforts for development and stability in Pakistan to enhance the stability of the region.

By Mohammad Abdul Qudoos

Published: Wed 27 Jan 2010, 11:41 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 10:27 AM

He was addressing the opening session of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) Public Private Partnership Conference in Dubai on Tuesday. The day-long conference was attended by more than 400 delegates from Pakistan, the UAE and 24 other countries in addition to international institutions.

The UAE and Pakistan co-chaired the important forum for the first time in the region.

“The UAE highlights the importance of the meeting in reaching the aspired goals of forging a long-term public-private partnership as a launching pad for supporting development and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan,” Shaikh Abdullah said.

“We are always looking forward for contribution of the private sector in shouldering the responsibility with governments of member states of FoDP,’’ he said.

Shaikh Abdullah also stressed the important role the private sector inside or outside Pakistan can play.

“Building bridges of cooperation and partnership with their peers in member states of the group has become an inevitable necessity in order to serve stability and development in Pakistan for the benefit of the private sector,’’ he added.

Outlining the UAE efforts towards supporting Pakistan, Shaikh Abdullah told the gathering that the UAE hosted the meeting of senior FoDP officials in November 2008 and the meeting of experts in April 2009.

He said that the UAE had pledged in the Tokyo donor conference in April 2009 to offer $300 million in support of Pakistan.

Shaikh Abdullah hoped the FoDP would play a key role in rendering the initiative a success.

As the UAE attaches great importance to the success of the event, he said that the goal would not be achieved without collective efforts of all. “We would like you to exchange ideas and make all efforts to make this event successful.”

Addressing the session, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, said that Pakistan offers one of the friendliest foreign investment regimes and public-private partnership frameworks in the world, while returns are significantly higher and assured. “Our three-year plan of reconstruction and rehabilitation containing close to 500 projects will cost about $300 million. The development plan of five years, based on post-crisis needs assessment, would cost around $1.2 billion,” he said.

Should this amount come through readily it will make a huge difference; this will help win hearts and minds, Qureshi assured.

He said that the governments of the FoDP countries as well as international financial institutions are ready to support the private sector, to step forward and contribute towards Pakistan’s progress.

“This is the right time to invest in Pakistan,” Qureshi said, adding, “We have set out our national priorities anchored in our potential and our requirements. We want you to help us and join us in this process.”

He said that Pakistan is a big country with incredibly huge untapped resources of all kinds.

The world leaders are committed to stand side by side with Pakistan to help it in its long-term socio-economic development in tune with its own national priorities.

“Governments alone will not be able to turn the tide. Active and purposeful engagement of civil society and corporate sector is a must,” Qureshi said.

“We are looking for joint ventures, public-private partnerships, investment and trade under frameworks and mechanisms that can be sustained in the years to come,” he said.

He assured the delegates that Pakistan will learn from past mistakes and demonstrate a resolve to make investment in Pakistan easier and safer. “We are currently working on several laws to further protect the investor against political and country risks,” he added.

Qureshi said that today, the Pakistani nation is united against terrorism.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said that Pakistan is the cornerstone of safety and stability in the region. Today, the international community has come together to overcome the problems suffered by Pakistan now and to make use of current cooperation potential.

He urged the countries to fulfill their undertaking made at the Tokyo Donors conference.

He said that Pakistan’s energy sector has been given priority by the FoDP. “We encourage Turkish energy companies to mitigate the country’s energy problem,” he said, adding that education was another sector being dealt.

He stressed that the steps aimed at helping Pakistan should be taken under the Pakistani administration’s guidance and leadership.

After the opening session, presentations were made on Pakistan’s economy, investment opportunities, and public-private partnership framework and application.

Later, the delegates attended four parallel sessions on energy, infrastructure, agriculture and agro-based industry, and social sector- health and education.

The concluding session was chaired by Shaikha Lubna Al Qassimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Qureshi.

Shaikha Lubna reiterated that the UAE would extend full support to Pakistan and its people.

“The day was long but productive. The conference has been a first step towards encouraging public-private partnerships in Pakistan” Qureshi said.

In forging partnerships, emphasis will be to encourage the private sector while the government plays the role of facilitator, he said.

Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) was launched in September 2008 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

It was jointly chaired by Pakistan, the US, UAE and the UK.It aims at addressing the challenges being faced by Pakistan and extend support to the country in achieving its development goals.

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