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Oman to provide more funds for Pakistan's Gwadar port

Written by: Staff
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Islamabad, Apr 3 (UNI) Oman will provide more funds for the development of the under-construction Gwadar port in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province, Omanese Foreign Minister Yousaf Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah said today.

''We have made valuable funding to contribute to the project,'' Mr Abdullah told reporters after talks with his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid M Kasuri.

Oman had committed 100 million dollars for the second Pakistani port after Karachi, being constructed with Chinese assistance, out of which 20 million dollars have already been spent.

The Omanese Minister said his government would commit the remaining 80 million dollars for various projects in Gwadar including the airport facility. Abdullah said the Gwadar Port did not pose any challenge to the Omani port.

Oman has its own huge industrial port at Soha and the minister hoped that both ports would complement each other.

''We are not worried about that and we will try to work together.

Both ports will work for the benefit of both the nations,'' he added.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Foreign Minister Kasuri said Oman has been invited to consider building storage and warehouse facilities in Gwadar, which is emerging as a key port, and make use of Pakistan's defence production facilities.

Kasuri described Oman as a valuable partner and said relations between the two countries have remained close and cordial.

''it is our fifth neighbour that shares maritime boundaries with Pakistan, and has cultural links with Balochistan,'' Mr Kasuri said.

On the bilateral front, both the countries agreed to further enhance cooperation and expand relations in diverse areas, including economy, trade, investments, education and defence.

Mr Kasuri noted that the commencement of Gulf Air flights to Islamabad would encourage people-to-people contacts and would facilitate further cementing of trade ties between the two countries.

The two sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern, including the West Asia peace process and the formation of a new Palestinian government, the continuing violence in Iraq, Iran's nuclear issue, terrorism and the challenges faced by the Muslim Ummah.

On Iran's nuclear stand off with the US on the former's nuclear build-up, both Pakistan and Oman reiterated their positions, calling for a peaceful settlement of the controversy.

''On Irans nuclear issue, Pakistan has maintained that it needs to be resolved through amicable and peaceful means,'' Mr Kasuri said.

Kasuri reiterated Pakistans stand that opposes any ''Coercive measures'' against Iran.

Omanese Minister Abdullah said his country was working with Iran and ''Friends in the West'' to try and avoid any possible crisis.

The UN Security Council last week set a 30-day deadline for Iran to suspend all its uranium enrichment programmes. Abdullah said the matter was complicated but insisted ''There are ways, if time is given, to reach an amicable solution.'' Kasuri also briefed his Omanese counterpart on the ongoing composite dialogue with India, saying that his country was hopeful that the dialogue would lead to the resolution of all outstanding issues between the two nations.

UNI XC SBJ PM PC2120

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