Musharraf, Howard express unanimity of views on major international issues


ISLAMABAD, Nov 23. : President General Pervez Musharraf and Australian Prime Minister John Howard expressed unanimity of views on major international issues after a 45-minute meeting here Tuesday. The Australian Prime Minister paid tributes to the Pakistani leader for his pivotal efforts in the fight against terrorism. "We admire very much Pakistan's firm stand in the war against international terror and the personal risks the President has taken", Howard said after the talks at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. President Musharraf described the talks as "excellent" and said their discussions focused on bolstering bilateral ties in all fields and international issues of common concern including counter-terrorism. "There was a complete consensus of views on these subjects", he declared. The visiting leader said the two countries had "commonality of views on most of the issues we discussed", and added that they also discussed efforts for peace in the Middle East. John Howard, who is the second Australian Prime Minister to undertake a bilateral visit to Pakistan, expressed his country's solidarity with Pakistan over last month's earthquake catastrophe in mountainous regions of NWFP and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Australians have been moved at the plight of quake-affected people," he said, assuring of Canberra's support to Islamabad in dealing with the aftermath of the tragedy that has left 74,000 people dead, almost an equal number seriously injured and over three million shelterless. resident Musharraf briefed the visiting Prime Minister about Pakistan's relief and reconstruction efforts in the quake zone and expressed Pakistan's gratitude to Howard for all the assistance Australia has extended in the wake of October 8 earthquake.They sent a medical team to a difficult quake-hit area," he noted with appreciation.In bilateral ties, Musharraf said Pakistan looks forward to strong relations with Australia in all fields.Recalling President Musharraf's visit to Canberra earlier this year, Howard expressed a strong hope for closer ties, adding that his path-breaking visit set the pace for multi-dimensional ties. "The bilateral relations will go a long way since your visit to Canberra and now my visit to Pakistan will further contribute to strengthening these ties", he said.

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