Pakistan, EU agree to strengthen bilateral cooperation in diverse fields

ISLAMABAD, Nov 3 (APP):Pakistan and the European Union in their fifth round of Strategic Dialogue on Tuesday expressed satisfaction over the implementation of last year’s engagement plan and agreed to further enhance bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi co-chaired the virtual meeting along with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission Joseph Borrell.

Qureshi said Pakistan and the EU enjoyed broad-based relations, adding that continuation of high-level contacts in various areas of mutual interest was reflective of their cordial relations.

The meeting discussed the global situation of coronavirus pandemic and the strategies to deal with its implications.

The two sides deliberated upon the steps taken in the wake of COVID-19 to mitigate its sufferings.

Foreign Minister Qureshi mentioned that Pakistan despite its limited resources achieved remarkable results through its smart lockdown strategy in controlling the spread of virus.

He recalled that the proposal of Prime Minister Imran Khan stressing the need to support weaker economies through easy loan facility during the pandemic was acknowledgment at international level.

The Foreign Minister highlighted the salient features of Ehsaas socio-welfare programme launched to provide financial assistance to the poor, which received encouraging results.

To reduce the effects of climate change, he said, Pakistan launched ‘Clean Green Pakistan’ programme.

He apprised the EU representative about the concern in Muslim world including Pakistan of the growing trend of Islamophobia in European countries.

The meeting discussed efforts to restore peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The two sides agreed that Intra-Afghan Dialogue was an important milestone for the Afghan peace.

Qureshi highlighted the grave human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and called upon the international community to save Kashmiris from the Indian oppression.

He stressed that the world needed to play its role in resolving the Kashmir issue in accordance with resolutions of UN Security Council.

The virtual discussion focused on sharing assessments on the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic and actions taken by the respective sides to mitigate its negative socio-economic impacts.

The EU is a traditional friend of Pakistan and a major trading and investment partner. The relations between the two sides are pursued through regular high-level engagements, robust institutional arrangements and structured dialogues.

Ahead of the Strategic Dialogue, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service Enrique Mora also held the sixth round of Pakistan-European Political Dialogue to advance bilateral cooperation, on October 6, 2020.

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