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ISLAMABAD: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari yesterday urged his Egyptian counterpart Mohammed Mursi to help efforts to end the “bloodshed” in Syria and find a solution to the crisis.
Zardari made the remarks during talks with Mursi who arrived in Pakistan as part of a South Asian tour that will also take him to India as he works to promote trade and investment in Egypt’s troubled economy.
His one-day trip to Pakistan was the first visit by an Egyptian leader since Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1960s.
Zardari “urged for working together to end the bloodshed in Syria and find a peaceful solution to the crisis,” presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said in a statement.
Zardari also stressed that “the drive for peace in Syria must be led and owned by the Syrian people and offered Pakistan’s readiness to play its role”.
Pakistani state television showed live footage of a ceremony at the presidential palace in Islamabad where Mursi was greeted with a guard of honour.
The foreign ministry said the visit was a “watershed and a landmark” in relations between the two Muslim nations which would “give a new impetus to economic, trade and cultural relations”.
“President Mursi’s decision to choose Pakistan as the first South Asian country for a visit manifests Egypt’s desire to add a new chapter to its ties with Pakistan,” it added.
Officials from the two countries signed agreements to promote cooperation in shipping, investment, information technology and science and technology.
“President Mursi expressed his deep desire to cultivate close relations with Pakistan and said that Pakistan and Egypt are two pillars of the Islamic world,” Babar said.
In India, Mursi will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and business groups to bolster trade relationship.
“Our trade with Egypt has increased so rapidly in the last three years that India is now Egypt’s seventh-largest trading partner,” India’s Ambassador to Egypt Navdeep Suri told reporters ahead of the visit.
“We talk often in general terms about space, technology and cooperation but during this visit we are talking in specific terms about launching an Egyptian satellite,” he added.