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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari met the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC), Miguel Moratinos, on the margins of the 77th UNGA Session in New York.

They discussed the work of the UNAOC and avenues for collaboration, particularly in strengthening inter-religious dialogue, combating Islamophobia, as well as, intolerance based on religion or belief. They stressed the need for achieving harmony among diverse cultures and societies.

The Foreign Minister emphasized that Islamophobia is a reality that is visible in a number of western countries but its most virulent manifestation is in India. He called upon UNAOC to step up its efforts to halt and reverse Islamophobia, bigotry and discrimination based on religion and belief.

While encouraging interfaith and intercultural dialogue and exchange of ideas at the local, national and international levels, the High Representative reiterated the readiness of UNAOC to support all efforts that promote continued dialogue and foster mutual respect and understanding, including on ways to combat Islamophobia.

Created in 2005, one of the core objectives of UNAOC has been to advance mutual respect for all cultures, traditions and religious beliefs. It serves as a platform for bridging differences and reducing friction between civilizations.

Separately, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari met with His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The two Foreign Ministers exchanged views on various aspects of bilateral relations, as well as, the regional situation and global issues.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari conveyed greetings and best wishes for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. He also appreciated the vision and efforts of the Saudi leadership for progress and development of the Kingdom and regional peace.

The Foreign Minister also briefed His Highness about the ongoing flood situation and the challenges faced by Pakistan in relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction. He thanked the leadership and people of the Kingdom for their generous support for Pakistan in the wake of the recent floods.

Both Foreign Ministers emphasized the vital importance of Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relations and agreed further to deepen mutual cooperation in all fields, including economy, trade, energy and investment.

The Saudi Foreign Minister offered condolences over the loss of precious lives. He also expressed concern over and the damage to infrastructure. He assured the Foreign Minister of Pakistan of the Kingdom’s full support in regard to relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.

Meanwhile, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held bilateral meeting with his Algerian counterpart, H.E. Ramtane Lamamra, on the margins of ongoing UNGA Session. The interaction comes within the established framework for cooperation and exchanges characterized by mutual trust and friendship.

The Foreign Minister expressed satisfaction at the historically fraternal ties between the two nations. He expressed pride at Pakistan’s role in Algeria’s independence. The Algerian Foreign Minister welcomed Pakistan’s principled position on the Middle East and other issues. Both Ministers agreed that the commitment of Pakistan and Algeria to international principles was the pillar of their close relationship. The two Foreign Ministers agreed to revive and reinforce the several institutions and mechanisms of bilateral cooperation. They also agreed on continued mutual support and coordination of positions bilaterally and in multilateral platforms, including at UN and OIC.

The Foreign Minister also held a bilateral meeting with H.E. Sameh Hassan Shoukry Foreign Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

The two Ministers reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and agreed to enhance the frequency of bilateral political exchanges. They underlined the need to increase cooperation related to trade, defence, counter-terrorism, education, culture and tourism.

The two leaders also exchanged views on important developments in Afghanistan and the region, as well as, the rise in global tensions. They emphasized the importance of finding peaceful solutions to conflicts and disputes through diplomatic means.

The Foreign Minister also assured of Pakistan’s full support to Egypt as the Chair of CoP-27 Climate Change Conference. He added that Pakistan would contribute to the success of the conference by participating at the highest level, and projecting the views of developing countries in its capacity as the current Chair of Group of 77 and China.

Pakistan and Egypt enjoy excellent fraternal relations underpinned by a shared heritage and commonality of views. The two countries closely collaborate bilaterally, as well as on regional and global issues of mutual interest.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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