Ukraine-Pakistan Relations Set To Touch New Horizons

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Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

 Newly Appointed Ambassador Of Ukraine
H.E. Mr. Volodymyr Lakomov Talks to CENTRELINE & DNA

Mr. Volodymyr Lakomov has recently been appointed Ambassador of Ukraine to Pakistan. He has served in various capacities and on various positions ranging from academics, media, economics and diplomacy. His some of assignments include; Specialist in economy, inspector of the General Directorate for Foreign Missions (1975-76), Head of editorial staff of the news and advertising agency “Ukrayna”, (1989-90), Deputy Head of Department of the international economic cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Counselor Embassy of Ukraine in Brazil (1997-2002), Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine in Angola, (2004-2007), Ambassador in Mozambique (2006-2007), Ambassador in Brazil (2007-2010), Ambassador in Guyana (2009-2010), Ambassador at Large of the Division of the perspective partnership, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2011). Here excerpts from his interview given to Diplomatic News Agency (DNA) and Centreline.

 1.           On March 16, 2012 Ukraine and Pakistan celebrated the 20th anniversary of establishment of relations. Can you tell us a bit more about these celebrations?

On March 16, 2012 Ukraine and Pakistan celebrated the 20th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations, but our people celebrated far more period of the frank friendship and cooperation, which started long before Pakistan officially recognized new independent Ukraine on December 31, 1991. The dawn of our bilateral relations goes back to the former Soviet Union times, when Soviet experts, the vast majority of whom were Ukrainians, assisted to develop the key industries and national economy of Pakistan in 1960-70’s. The Karachi Steel Mills, which remains largest in Pakistan, a number of powerful hydro stations in Tarbella, Kalabakh were built in this period, as well as the large park of Ukraine agricultural machinery, trucks was made here in Pakistan.

The first significant economic contract between Pakistan and independent Ukraine was concluded in the military-technical sphere in 1996. Cooperation in defense and military-technical spheres developed in different directions, including joint training of officers, technical experts and pilots, through the supply and joint development of high-tech weaponry and equipment for the Army, Navy, Air Force of Pakistan. Pakistani military-industrial complex will continue cooperation with Ukraine in developing technologies and manufacturing military products (especially in the joint assembly and subsequent maintenance of the main battle tank “Al Khalid”, which supplies to the Pakistani Army and has big export potential).

2.               How do you intend to expand and strengthen these relations? Have you chalked out any road-map in this regard?

The current stage of relations between Ukraine and Pakistan can be characterized as a “dynamic process”, which bases on the traditionally high level understanding in political, military, trade, economic areas and effective cooperation within international organizations. Both countries wish to expand and deepen mutually beneficial relations perspective, so the main priority now is to use an existing positive experience of bilateral cooperation in civilian spheres, for intensification of political dialogue, boosting legal framework, creating conducive conditions for functioning of business organizations at the markets of both countries and others. In this respect Ukraine is ready to play its part in the development of Pakistan and would welcome any efforts to search new approaches for cooperation and expending ties with Pakistan in various sectors.

One of the most important steps on this road is a development of the legal framework and bilateral mechanisms of our cooperation. The relations between Ukraine and Pakistan are likely to get more dynamics with approval of various agreements, conventions and setting up of commissions. These efforts would not only bring both the countries closer but would also assist in making them close partners to achieve economic prosperity and stability of the Central Asian and South Asian regions.

Let me provide you with some examples. At present time the draft Agreement on the Establishment of Intergovernmental Ukraine-Pakistani Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation have been considered and reviewed by Ukrainian authorities and as I hope it will be signed in the nearest future. After the establishment of the Commission the trade relations and economic ties between both the countries would grow further.

The second achievement – the Pakistani-Ukrainian Business Council of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry was established last year.

The third one – Ukrainian-Pakistani Business Council was founded under the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and its first meeting was held in Kyiv on March 16, 2012. In the nearest future, the Council plans to organize the visit of the delegation of Ukrainian businessmen to Pakistan, launch a newsletter and make recommendations to the First session of the above-mentioned Intergovernmental Ukrainian-Pakistani Commission for Trade and Economic Cooperation, which is planned for this year in Kyiv.

In January 2011, the Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on trade and economic cooperation entered into force.

In June 2011 the Convention between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of Pakistan for the Avoidance of Double Taxation entered into force. This convention would result in rise in trade volume between both the countries.

Also both the countries are stepping ahead in signing an agreement for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investment, which was also being reviewed and studied by the Pakistani administration.

The draft of other agreements being considered by the Pakistani administration to be inked includes Air Services Agreement, mutual recognition of documents on higher education, scientific degrees and academic titles, Cooperation in the field of Education and MOU in the sphere of Agriculture.

 

3.           We know, whenever Pakistan faced crisis situations, Ukraine was quick to respond. Can you spell out some features of humanitarian assistance Ukraine has provided to Pakistan?

Ukraine has always been and remains a sincere friend and reliable partner of Pakistan and provided helping hand in the time of need. On May 04, 2011 Ukrainian humanitarian assistance reached Pakistan to help people of Pakistan who suffered from devastating flood. Two cargo planes delivered around 27 000 kg of the humanitarian assistance, included 14000 pieces of Blankets, 5000 kg of Javel-Clade (Water Treatment Means), 1000 Winter Jackets & 57919 Packs/Flasks of Medical preparations.

 

4.               How can Pakistan benefit from Ukraine potential in various fields and what is the current trade volume between the two countries?
Ukraine, being a large European economy, has a well-developed industrial base, the rich farmlands, highly trained labor and a good education system. It is relatively rich in natural resources, particularly mineral deposits. Although oil reserves in the country are largely exhausted, it has other important energy sources, such as coal, hydroelectricity and nuclear fuel raw materials. Ukraine has considerable experience in ferrous metal industry, producing cast iron, steel and a wide range of metal ware, including pipes (the world’s eighth largest steel producer), chemical and petrochemical industry producing coke, mineral fertilizers, acids, soda etc., mineral resources development, energy complex, arms, space industry. Our country is a major producer of grain, sugar, meat and milk products. Manufactured goods include metallurgical equipment, diesel locomotives, tractors, automobiles.

Thereby cooperation in these spheres could be fruitful for both sides.

The trade turnover between our countries in 2010 was $168.2 million, with exports from Ukraine to Pakistan $113 million, and imports from Pakistan to Ukraine $55.2 million. In 2011 the commodity trade turnover between Pakistan and Ukraine was $251.9 million among which the total exports from Ukraine to Pakistan was $183.7 million and import from Pakistan to Ukraine was $68.2 million.

5.           There is huge scope for improvement in economic relations. How can we give new dimensions to our economic ties?

The economic relations between Ukraine and Pakistan are satisfactory, but the two countries have potential to further improve and boost them. In this respect the urgent task for both sides is to create more favorable conditions for building up mutually beneficial business cooperation. Primarily, it refers to the intensification of political contacts, the formation of a proper legal base for trade-economic, financial, transport, launching a fruitful inter-regional, industry cooperation.

Significant bilateral potential is also to be involved in research and development of medical technologies, exchange of experiences between the scientific and medical establishments of both countries to use modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of dangerous diseases, the use of advanced medical technologies. One of the promising sectors is the increasing of Pakistani students in specialized high schools of Ukraine. Currently about 200 representatives of Pakistan annually go for education in Ukraine and over half of this level – in Ukrainian medical institutions.

6: Anything you would like to add?

In conclusion I would like to say, that Ukraine has attached great importance to its ties with Pakistan and is willing to take the opportunity of the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations to further promote mutual political trust, expand pragmatic cooperation and consolidate the traditional friendship in order to bring Ukraine-Pakistan ties to a new high.

The huge experience gained in twenty years of high level understanding between Ukraine and Pakistan in the political sphere, traditionally active development of Ukrainian-Pakistani defense cooperation, considerable potential in civilian areas creates favorable conditions for further intensification of Ukrainian-Pakistani relations. So I am convinced that traditionally friendly ties between our states will further develop and strengthen according to the interests of people of Ukraine and Pakistan.

Availing of this opportunity I wish Pakistani people happiness, peace and prosperity.

Japanese Envoy Thanks Pakistan
For Support After Earthquake

Diplomatic News Agency

ISLAMABAD (DNA): On the occasion of the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, I would like to pray for the souls of the victims and their bereaved families. I wish to thank the Government and the people of Pakistan for the invaluable support extended to us in a multitude of ways.

Soon after the earthquake and tsunami, the Government of Pakistan extended emergency assistance; a  wide range of people sent messages expressing solidarity and sympathy with the people of Japan and the victims. Pakistani nationals who are living in Japan actively participated in various volunteer works such as providing relief supplies and Pakistani curry to those in dire need.

 One year after the disaster, Japan is now on the path to revitalization, after being in the  recovery phase for months supported by countries around the world including Pakistan. The basic facilities and infrastructure in the affected regions  have been restored speedily and steadily. Life has returned to normalcy in Tokyo and in almost all parts of Japan. Supply chain has been completely put back to normal.  Japan has recovered and there are no major obstacles to do business, study or even sightseeing in Japan.The period after the Great East Japan Earthquake has been an arduous time for Japan. Yet at the same time, it  was a time when Japan once again realized the resilience of its people  and the importance of the Bonds of Friendship (KIZUNA) with the international community.

The support we received from the international community is a gift stemming from KIZUNA. To reciprocate, Japan will make active contributions through our Official Development Assistance and other measures to satisfy basic human needs.