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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office on Thursday confirmed that Pakistan will participate in the meeting of the Council of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO RATS) scheduled to be held in New Delhi from 15-20 May 2022.

Speaking at his weekly media briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said that it is a regular expert-level meeting which will be joined by all SCO member countries and there is nothing unusual about it.

“These meetings are periodically held in Tashkent but since India is the current chair of SCO-RATS, the meeting is being hosted by India in New Delhi,” he said, adding that a working-level Pakistan delegation, led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, would participate in the meeting with participation from other officials.

Responding to a question about the visit of Director-General, Inter-Services Intelligence (DG ISI) Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum to the United States and holding of the security talks with his US counterpart, the spokesperson expressed his inability to comment, saying he does not have the relevant information at this point, adding that the question could be put to the relevant institution.

SCO expert group discusses cooperation between museums

About Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s upcoming visit to the US, he said that an invitation has been extended to the foreign minister by his US counterpart and Pakistan’s participation has been confirmed for this Ministerial meeting on Food Security that is going to be held in New York on 18 May 2022.

“We will share further details as soon as these are firmed up. We can also look forward to other bilateral engagements on the sidelines during this visit,” he added.

About Pakistan’s relations with India, he said that “in diplomacy, you never shut the doors.” “Let me say very clearly and I think it is very obvious from the statements of the leadership of the previous government and the current government, and I think you will see a lot of consistency in these statements, and that is because this is an issue on which there is national consensus. So yes, we have been saying we want friendly relations with all neighbours including India but the situation that arose in the wake of India’s illegal and unilateral actions in IIOJK on 5th August 2019 and subsequent steps they took, the environment for a fruitful, constructive dialogue is not there,” he said.

He added: “We have been saying very consistently that the onus was on India to create an environment that is conducive for a result-oriented dialogue, and yes Jammu and Kashmir as the core dispute has to be at the forefront of any such dialogue.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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