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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan reiterated its commitment to implement the 27 International Conventions covered under the preferential trade scheme, besides conveying its position to European side on the new legislative proposals of the European Commission relating to the GSP Plus.

This was stated by Foreign Office in a statement here, Friday, after the 7th Round of Pakistan-EU Political Dialogue held in virtual format.

Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood led the Pakistan side, while Enrique Mora, deputy secretary general of the European External Action Service (EEAS), headed the EU delegation.

The dialogue covered broad range of subjects relating to bilateral relations including the comprehensive implementation of Pakistan-EU Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP), and regional and international developments.

Underscoring the commonality of views, the foreign secretary stated that the EU was a traditional friend and a major political, economic and trade partner of Pakistan.

He expressed satisfaction over the positive trajectory of bilateral relations and reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to further deepen cooperation with the EU in diverse areas.

Highlighting that GSP Plus was a mutually-beneficial undertaking, the foreign secretary reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to implement the 27 International Conventions covered under the preferential trade scheme.

The foreign secretary also conveyed Pakistan’s position on the new legislative proposals of the European Commission relating to the GSP Plus.

Deputy Secretary General Mora appreciated continued Pakistan-EU engagements, including holding of various dialogues despite challenges of Covid-19 pandemic.

He also stressed the importance of structured Dialogue on migration and hoped that the engagements envisaged under the SEP will commence as the Covid-19 situation improves.

Mora informed that he looked forward to the visit of Foreign Minister Qureshi to Brussels for the next round of Strategic Dialogue. He appreciated Pakistan’s facilitation in evacuation efforts from Afghanistan for the international community. Both sides stressed the importance of their continued high-level exchanges with regard to the situation in Afghanistan.

The foreign secretary shared Pakistan’s perspective on Afghanistan in detail. He emphasized the importance of pragmatic approach and positive engagement of the international community with Afghanistan. He also stressed the need for urgent measures to prevent humanitarian crisis and economic collapse in Afghanistan. In this context, he also underscored the importance of releasing Afghanistan’s frozen financial assets.

The foreign secretary appreciated the EU’s pragmatic approach of remaining engaged with the Interim Afghan Government and reiterated Pakistan’s support to the EU in its engagement with Afghanistan as well as measures to ease the humanitarian situation.

The foreign secretary also apprised the deputy secretary general of Pakistan’s international and regional diplomatic outreach on Afghanistan, with particular reference to the six neighbouring countries of Afghanistan and Troika Plus. He affirmed Pakistan’s support for the EU engagement with relevant mechanisms. The foreign secretary further apprised his counterpart of the dire human rights and humanitarian situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

He underscored that the unabated human rights violations and denial of right to self-determination to the Kashmiri people were major obstacles in relations between Pakistan and India.

India must, therefore, undo its illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019 and create an enabling environment for any meaningful engagement.

Pakistan and the EU enjoy cordial relations, underpinned by close bilateral cooperation and commonality of views and regional and global issues including multilateralism, free trade, fight against terrorism, and climate action.

The two sides are closely engaged through high-level interactions and increasing collaboration on matters of common interest under the framework of Pakistan-EU Strategic Engagement Plan.

The foreign secretary extended invitation to Deputy Secretary General Mora to undertake a visit to Pakistan at his earliest convenience.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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