MANILA, April 19 (Xinhuanet)
-- Extensive consensus in cooperation was reached Tuesday as the
Philippine and Pakistani leaders sought closer relations between the two
countries in the defense, economy,culture and politics.
|Philippine President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo and her Pakistani counterpart Pervez Musharraf gesture to the
crowds during the welcome ceremony in honor of visiting Musharraf in
Manila April 19, 2005. Musharraf arrived here late Monday for a three-day
visit to the Philippines.|
Four agreements were signed in the presence of
President GloriaMacapagal-Arroyo and visiting Pakistani President Pervez
Musharrafin the presidential palace.
The first document, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
on combating terrorism and certain other crimes, is envisioned to facilitate
sustained security and intelligence coordination as well as practical,
comprehensive and forward-looking cooperation in disrupting terrorist and
transnational concerns and transnational crimes, the government said in a
The second agreement is on the abolition of visa
requirements for holders of diplomatic passports and the facilitation of
issuance of entry visas to holders of official passports.
The two countries also signed a program of cultural
exchanges from 2005 to 2009, calling for the implementation of various exchanges
in the cultural information materials, performing arts and the promotion,
conservation, restoration of historical and cultural patrimony.
To enhance bilateral trade, the two countries also
signed a MOUformalizing the business agreements between the Philippine
International Trading Corp. (PITC) and United Marketing of Pakistan for the
supply of pharmaceuticals from Pakistan to support the low-cost medicines
program of the Philippine government.
The Philippine government said that since 2000, the
PITC has been implementing the government's parallel importation program for
pharmaceuticals, which involves the purchase of medicines of guaranteed quality
from original manufacturers in countries where they can be sourced cheaper than
in the Philippines.
Apart from the four agreements, President Musharraf
also assured Pakistan's full support for the Philippine government's efforts to
end the decades old rebellion in the southern islands of Mindanao.
"As far as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)
and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are concerned, let me assure you,
President (Arroyo), that you will find Pakistan on your side.We believe in
harmony. We believe in the peaceful resolution" of conflicts, Musharraf told the
President during their bilateral talks.
He also told Arroyo that he would support the
Philippines' policy of continuing the implementation of the 1976 and 1996
peaceaccords signed between the government and MNLF, and possibly, the peace
agreement to be signed with the MILF.
Musharraf assured Pakistan's support for the
Philippines' bid for a permanent observer status in the influential Organization
ofIslamic Conference (OIC), of which, Pakistan is a regular member.
He informed President Arroyo that in June 2005, the
OIC would hold a special ministerial meeting in Yemen to resolve technical
problems within the organization, and settle certain differences among the OIC
Arroyo told Musharraf that the Philippines needs to
be part of the OIC so that "our Muslim brothers here in the Philippines can feel
that they are also important in the Muslim countries."
Musharraf, who started Monday his three-day state
visit to Manila, is the first Pakistani president to visit the Philippines since
diplomatic ties between the two countries were established in September 1949.