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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday conveyed Pakistan’s readiness to continue to work for a productive and constructive partnership with the European Union (EU), saying that the GSP Plus facility to Pakistan had been mutually beneficial and played an important role in growth of trade between the two sides.

The foreign minister stated this, while speaking to the EU Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the Countries of South Asia (DSAS) led by Nicola Procaccini, during a meeting here at the Foreign Office.

In a statement after the meeting, the Foreign Office said that views were exchanged on various aspects of the Pakistan-EU relations and regional and international developments.

Recalling his meeting with the EU High Representative Josep Borrell and his earlier virtual interaction with European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), Foreign Minister Qureshi underlined that Pakistan-EU Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP) has ushered in a new phase by laying a solid foundation and framework for multidimensional cooperation between the two sides.

He highlighted the enormous potential in diverse areas such as commerce and trade, sustainable development, and climate change, and stressed the importance of translating them into tangible outcomes to further deepen Pakistan-EU relations.

The foreign minister conveyed Pakistan’s readiness to continue to work for a productive and constructive partnership and underscored the importance of regular interactions between the two sides.

He added that the EU’s GSP Plus facility to Pakistan had been mutually beneficial and played an important role in growth of trade between the two sides.

He reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment towards effective implementation of GSP Plus-related international conventions and appreciated the EU’s support to Pakistan in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The foreign minister also gave an account of various measures undertaken by the government for the welfare of the people of Pakistan, it added.

It further stated that the two sides also exchanged views on the latest developments in Afghanistan, while Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted that Pakistan had suffered the most due to conflict and instability in Afghanistan over the last 40 years and that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was in Pakistan’s vital interest.

He appreciated that there was realisation in the international community to engage with Afghanistan and underlined that a humanitarian crisis and economic collapse in Afghanistan could have enormous consequences.

He stressed that the Afghan people should not be abandoned and that the international community should remain positively engaged to advance shared objectives of peace, security, development, and connectivity.

The foreign minister highlighted Pakistan’s efforts, including its initiative of establishing the platform of six neighbouring countries of Afghanistan.

He also briefed the visiting delegation about Pakistan’s assistance in the EU’s evacuation endeavours from Afghanistan.

Qureshi further apprised the delegation of the grave human rights violations in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and stressed that Pakistan desired good relations with all neighbours.

He also highlighted Pakistan’s efforts to promote peace in the region and underlined that the onus was on India to create an enabling environment for result-oriented engagement.

“Both sides agreed to further enhance interaction in diverse areas through various established mechanisms and high-level exchanges. The EU delegation thanked Pakistan for its assistance in the EU’s evacuation efforts of its nationals from Afghanistan,” the statement added.

The EU delegation is currently on a three-day visit to Pakistan as a part of regular interactions between the two sides.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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