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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has taken a strong exception to the media statement released by the European delegation to the country and signed by Islamabad-based envoys from 22 EU and other like-minded countries, urging Pakistan to join them in condemning Russia’s actions and termed this as an unacceptable practice “which is contrary to the diplomatic norms”.

Speaking at his weekly media briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim ftikhar said that Pakistan has taken up the matter with the ambassadors of the EU countries and conveyed them the country’s serious concerns over the media release.

“They issued a press release, we saw that and in a subsequent meeting with the group of ambassadors, we expressed our serious concern about that. This is not the way diplomatic practice and I think they [the EU envoys] have realised,” the spokesperson said.

“We have engaged and continue to engage on this issue. The issuance of press release was not acceptable and this is what has been conveyed to them and I think they have acknowledged that may be this was not [the] right way,” he added.

In a press release on March 1, the Islamabad-based heads of missions of the European Union countries, along with Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, through a joint press release urged Pakistan to join them in condemning Russia’s actions and to voice support for “upholding the UN Charter and the founding principles of international law in Ukraine”.

Official shares EU’s perspective on Ukraine situation with Qureshi

Iftikhar further stated that over the last few days, when the crisis in Ukraine started on 24th February, there have been various engagements at different levels with the various ambassadors at the Foreign Office at the level of the foreign secretary, additional secretary, director generals, and others.

He said that the foreign secretary was also scheduled to hold meeting with some ambassadors on Friday over the crisis in Ukraine. “This is the normal way of conducting diplomatic activities and we have no issue with that as we ourselves want to engage very proactively and we also have meetings on short notices even as [we] are in the middle of preparing for a major conference in two weeks time – the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers,” he said, adding that the foreign minister is also talking to his counterparts from different countries over the ongoing situation.

When his comments were sought on the tweets by the ambassadors of various Western countries based in Islamabad, urging Pakistan through the tweets to condemn Russia, the spokesperson said that it is not usually the diplomatic practice of saying such things on social media, “especially by the ambassadors and we have conveyed that to them also.”

“I think, it’s a tricky thing...Our ambassadors abroad also use Twitter, but I think we use that in a responsible manner and there are always certain diplomatic norms and protocols that are required to be followed. It is not usually the diplomatic practice of saying such things on social media especially by the ambassadors,” he added.

He further stated that Pakistan has been closely following the situation in Ukraine, and has remained proactively engaged with members of the international community. He said that Pakistan is committed to the fundamental principles of the UN Charter: self-determination of peoples, non-use or threat of use of force, sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, and pacific settlement of disputes. Equally, Pakistan upholds the principle of equal security for all. These principles must be consistently and universally respected, he added.

“Pakistan remains deeply concerned at the recent turn of events. This reflects a failure of diplomacy. Prime Minister Imran Khan regretted the latest situation between Russia and Ukraine, and said that Pakistan had hoped that diplomacy could avert military conflict,” he said, adding that we have since repeatedly stressed the need for de-escalation, renewed negotiations, sustained dialogue, and continuous diplomacy.

He said that all efforts must be made to avoid further escalation of violence and loss of life as well as military, political, and economic tensions, which can pose an unprecedented threat to international peace and security and global economic stability. As consistently underlined by Prime Minister Imran Khan, he added that the developing countries are hit the hardest economically by conflict anywhere.

“We hope the talks initiated between representatives of the Russian Federation and Ukraine will succeed in bringing about a cessation of hostilities and normalization of the situation. A diplomatic solution in accordance with relevant multilateral agreements, international law, and the provisions of the UN Charter is indispensable,” he said, adding that Pakistan also supports all efforts to provide humanitarian relief to civilians in the affected areas.

“We are most concerned about the safety and welfare of Pakistani citizens and students in Ukraine. The majority of them have been evacuated through a concerted effort in coordination with our concerned Missions there who have been working round the clock,” he further stated, adding that those who remain will be evacuated soonest.

He also appreciated the cooperation of the Ukrainian authorities as well as the Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, and other neighbouring countries in this context.

The spokesperson also confirmed that Pakistan and the United States are scheduled to hold an Intersessional Meeting of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) on 7th March. The US delegation for this meeting will be led by the Assistant United States Trade Representative for South and Central Asia, Christopher Wilson, he said, adding that the meeting will focus on further enhancing trade and investment between Pakistan and the United States and explore potential for growth in areas of mutual interest including agriculture, health, energy, IT, and other sectors.

He also welcomed the confirmation of Donald Blome by the Biden administration as new US Ambassador to Pakistan, adding that it will further enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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iftikhar Mar 05, 2022 01:24pm
They EU diplomats,they are suppose project EU point of view please.
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