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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held meetings of his counterparts from a number of countries on the sidelines of the 48th session of the OIC-CFMs including Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Faisal bin Farhan, Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov, Foreign Minister of Gambia Dr Mamadou Tangara, and Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Mukhtar Tileuberdi.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met the Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, on the side-lines of the 48th Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad, Foreign Office said in a statement.

It stated that the two foreign ministers exchanged views on bilateral relations as well as issues of regional and global importance.

Underscoring the fraternal relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Qureshi reaffirmed the commitment of Pakistan’s leadership to further advance ongoing cooperation in various areas of mutual importance.

Both sides also agreed to further strengthen their coordination on regional and international matters, and to keep close communication and collaboration in multilateral forums including the OIC, the UN, and international financial institutions.

Expressing satisfaction on the level of cooperation at multilateral fora, the two foreign ministers agreed to remain closely engaged to pursue common objectives. Noting Saudi Arabia’s candidature to host World Expo 2030 in Riyadh, Foreign Minister Qureshi extended Pakistan’s unconditional support to the Saudi bid. Prince Farhan thanked Pakistan for supporting the Kingdom’s bid at the 169th General Assembly of Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), scheduled to be held in December 2023.

The two foreign ministers reviewed the OIC’s importance as a vital platform for the Islamic Ummah and its role in the advancement of common causes of the Muslim World.

The Saudi foreign minister underscored the importance that Saudi Arabia attaches to its fraternal and strategic relationship with Pakistan. He conveyed Saudi Arabia’s appreciation for the role played by Pakistan in the OIC.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Qureshi held a bilateral meeting with the Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, Rashid Meredov, in which, the two sides expressed satisfaction at the state of bilateral relations as well as the growing cooperation in various fields, including coordination at regional and international fora.

Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted Pakistan’s “Vision Central Asia” policy, and its commitment to enhancing engagement with Central Asian countries for building a result-oriented, sustainable and long-term partnership. He stressed the need for greater cooperation between Pakistan and Turkmenistan in trade and investment, enhanced connectivity, and people-to-people exchanges.

Qureshi highlighted that peace and stability in Afghanistan was essential for realizing the goals of greater economic integration and regional connectivity. He stressed the importance of constructive engagement by the international community, including regional countries, for meeting the immediate humanitarian and economic needs of the Afghan people.

The two foreign ministers exchanged views on energy and connectivity projects between Pakistan and Turkmenistan, which have the potential to transform the region into a hub of regional trade. The two foreign ministers agreed to remain in contact and hold regular exchanges for further cementing bilateral ties.

In his meeting with counterpart from Gambia, Dr Mamadou Tangara, the two ministers recalled their fraternal and trust-based ties, anchored in common faith and values. They exchanged views on regional and bilateral issues of mutual interest.

The excellent cooperation, shared perspectives and tradition of mutual support at multilateral fora were highlighted during the interaction. Both sides expressed satisfaction on the current status of their bilateral relationship and shared the common desire and keenness for enhanced engagement.

Qureshi appreciated the recent uptick in bilateral visits and welcomed the visits by Gambian Minister of Interior and Minister of Communication in 2021.

Both ministers expressed the readiness to conclude MoU for “Bilateral Political Consultations” between the foreign ministries, Visa Abolition Agreement, and advance technical cooperation in the sphere of defence.

Welcoming the hosting of the upcoming 15th OIC Summit by Gambia in June 2022, Qureshi assured Pakistan’s full support and cooperation to Foreign Minister Tangara. The foreign minister looked forward to close collaboration and coordination between Pakistan, as the OIC-CFM Chair, and Gambia, as the chair of the OIC Summit.

Foreign Minister Qureshi also received Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Mukhtar Tileuberdi, for a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 48th session of the OIC-CFMs.

The foreign minister recalled the previous meetings with his Kazakh counterpart and took stock of progress on a wide range of bilateral issues. Both ministers agreed on the need to further enhance bilateral ties in fields of trade, connectivity, tourism, and people-to-people contacts.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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