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ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar on Thursday concluded her official visit to Sweden from June 6-8 in which she urged Swedish companies to take advantage of the business-friendly environment in Pakistan.

On the invitation to participate in the annual meeting of the European Council for Foreign Relations in Stockholm, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khar, visited Sweden on June 6-8, 2023, Foreign Office said in a statement on Thursday.

In addition to the ECFR meeting, the minister held bilateral meetings with the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade and the First Deputy Speaker of the Swedish Parliament. During the visit, she also held meetings with the CEOs of leading businesses and interacted with media and Swedish TV and radio.

The Minister of State conveyed felicitations to the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Johan Forssell, on the Swedish National Day.

She shared Pakistan’s commitment to strengthen bilateral cooperation, especially in the fields of renewable energy, sustainable technologies, waste management, ICT, export of skilled labour and R&D. She urged Swedish companies to take advantage of the business-friendly environment in Pakistan.

Expressing gratitude to Sweden for its assistance to Pakistan in the aftermath of the devastating floods, the minister invited the Swedish minister to visit Pakistan, possibly along with a business delegation to strengthen commercial and trade ties between the two countries.

Khar also held a meeting with First Deputy Speaker of the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag), Kenneth G Forslund.

In the meeting bilateral parliamentary relations, as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest, were discussed. Acknowledging the burgeoning bilateral ties based on mutual respect, MOS noted that Pakistan and Sweden will celebrate 75 years of establishment of diplomatic relations in 2024. She expressed Pakistan’s desire to enhance engagement and cooperation with the Swedish parliament.

Khar also held meetings with a select group of business leaders, including Ayad Al-Saffar, CEO Ahlens, Matias Martinsson, CIO Tundra Fonder, Martin Schedin, CEO Seamless Distribution and Rafael Fabrega, Vice President Food for Development, Tetra Pak, and invited them to enhance bilateral collaboration. She assured them of the government’s support to facilitate investment in Pakistan.

At the Annual Meeting of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), Khar was a keynote speaker at the public panel on “What the next world order could look like”.

In her remarks, she called for addressing the unresolved disputes and legitimate aspirations of developing countries for a more inclusive and representative world order. She said that the liberal International order was witnessing stresses marked by unmet expectations and mistrust due to selective application of norms, and re-emergence of great power contestation.

She regretted that at a time when the world needed to confront modern challenges with a united front, it was presenting a picture of a house divided due to great power competition. She stressed the dire need for the international community to join hands to realise the much-elusive SDGs, face the impending climate-related crises and avert the possible next pandemics.

Khar underscored that developing countries, in particular, felt threatened by the global power contestation. The major reason, she explained, was that instead of bringing the world together to meet common threats, the major powers were preoccupied with dividing the world into “us” and “them” in a race for political supremacy.

She called for a competition for finding solutions to common problems faced by the international community, instead of a competition for political hegemony.

The annual meeting of the ECFR provided an opportunity to present Pakistan's perspective on the issues of regional and global importance and interact with a diverse group of European decision-makers, academics and influencers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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