ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has not made any request for a bilateral meeting between Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and his Indian counterpart Jaishankaron on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Goa next month, informed sources said.
The sources also rubbished the Indian media reports in this regard that claimed that the Indian government has turned down a request by the Pakistan government for holding the bilateral meeting between the two foreign ministers and termed the reports as baseless.
“Foreign Minister’s visit to Goa is taking place in the context of SCO Ministerial Meeting. We have not made any bilateral meeting request,” said a senior government officer.
Last week, Foreign Office confirmed that Foreign Minister Bilawal would undertake a visit to India to lead Pakistan’s delegation to the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) being held on May 4-5, 2023 in Goa at the invitation of the current Chair of SCO’s CFM, Dr S Jaishankar, Minister for External Affairs of India.
“Our participation in the meeting reflects Pakistan’s commitment to the SCO Charter and processes and the importance that Pakistan accords to the region in its foreign policy priorities,” said Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, adding Foreign Minister Bilawal had also attended the last meeting of the CFM held in July last year in Tashkent.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif will attend the SCO defence ministers’ meeting virtually which is also being held in India.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023