PERTH, (Australia) (APP) - Australia on Sunday invited Pakistan for a meaningful dialogue to deepen economic ties, enhance cooperation in agriculture and undertake joint investment ventures to strengthen bilateral relations and as an effective means to counter-terrorism. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard extended the invitation to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani at a meeting on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) here in Perth. The Australian Prime Minister said her country looks forward to the bilateral visit in 2012 along with delegation comprising businessmen, investors and agriculturists so as to explore new avenues for cooperation between the two countries. Gilani is the first democratically head of government to have visited Australia which has emerged as its fifth largest development partner. The current volume of trade between Pakistan and Australia has surged to $700 million, still far below the real potential between the two countries. Ms Gillard said Australia considers development as an important component of counter-terrorism strategy and would widen the scope of cooperation with Pakistan in all areas. PM Gilani also extended an invitation to the Australian PM to visit Pakistan and said there was a need to find new avenues of cooperation, particularly in areas of agriculture, energy, education, infrastructure and health. He said the international community needs to extend assistance to Pakistan to enhance its capacity to fight the terrorists who were a common enemy. He said it was particularly important in the wake of the colossal losses to the country's economy because of terrorist activities. He said suicide bombings cause flight of capital and scare away the investors despite the lucrative incentives offered by the government. The PM gave detailed account of Pakistan's role in the war on terror in which about 35,000 people had been killed including 5000 law enforcement personnel, with an equal number disabled. Gilani said poverty was the major root cause of terrorism and extremism and must be an important component of the counter-terrorism strategy. PM Gilani said setting up of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones needs to be materialised to improve the quality of life of the people of FATA and to provide economic incentives to the people to stray away from indulging in extremist activities. He said the government and the people of Pakistan were committed to fight terrorism and it was reflected in the successful operation in Malakand and Swat. He however pointed that the military operation was not a sustainable resolution as political process has to be initiated to bring peace. The Prime Minister said his initiative of political reconciliation was not taken seriously by the US leadership, but now his stance has been vindicated as the whole world was now urging a political solution for long term stability in Afghanistan, by bringing to the negotiation table of all Afghan factions. Ms Gillard said she understood the criticality of the political reconciliation in Afghanistan, as it was intertwined closely to stability, development and good governance. The Prime Minister said he visited Afghanistan thrice and also took along the Army Chief and the head of its Intelligence Service to meet the Afghan President to give impetus to the process of reconciliation and to find a solution, reflective of the aspirations of the Afghan people. Gilani categorically said the solution of Afghanistan should not adversely affect Pakistan as happened in the wake of the Soviet withdrawal that left behind 3.5 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, and were an issue for Pakistan. He said that about 45,000 Afghans daily cross the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and it was impossible to identify a terrorist from a tourist or an ordinary traveller. He said the difficult terrain and porous border between the two countries made it difficult for the security forces to hunt down the terrorists. The Australian Prime Minister said Pakistan and Afghanistan had suffered a lot in the war against terror and her country would continue to assist both the countries in economic and political fields to bring stability and prosperity to the region. Australia PM said her country strongly believed development was an effective counter-terrorism strategy to win the hearts and minds of the people. She assured Australia will continue to help Pakistan and further strengthen trade links in the days ahead. The Prime Minister said that the trilateral meeting between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey in Istanbul was a manifestation of the commitment of the respective countries to seek a political settlement of the problem which was critical for peace and security of the whole region. He said his country has also offered training for the Afghan Army, police and the civil administration so as to enhance their capacity to look after the security and the governance issues. He was also appreciative of the assistance of the Australian government during the earthquake in 2005 and the floods in 2010 and this year in Sindh. Gilani also extended his condolences to the government and the bereaved families of the Australian soldiers, who were killed in an incident in Afghanistan on Saturday. PM Gilani thanked the Australian government for an excellent opportunity to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and said it was the dividend of democracy as Pakistan's membership was restored after his democratic government came to office in 2008. During the four-day visit of Prime Minister Gilani, Pakistan and Australia also inked the four-year "Australia-Pakistan Development Partnership" that lays the foundations for future engagement between Australia and Pakistan on aid and development. The partnership, signed by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar commits both countries to accountability and mutual responsibility for development results and joint reviews of progress against the partnership's commitment to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development goals. It will underpin activities in the health, education, and agriculture and rural development sectors.