ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Iraq have agreed to convert their excellent political relationship into a more meaningful economic partnership.
The understanding came at a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Iraqi Foreign Minister Dr Fuad Hussein here on Wednesday.
The two sides discussed cooperation in various fields including trade, energy, religious tourism, defense cooperation, human resource, and employment.
Later addressing a joint news conference, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said we have agreed to convene an early meeting of the 9th session of the Joint Ministerial Commission. He said this is a good forum to further the relationship.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said we also discussed ways and means to facilitate Iraqi visas for Pakistanis especially during Moharram.
He said Pakistan, on the special interest of Prime Minister Imran Khan, has announced a new Zaireen management policy.
He said we have a plan to facilitate the Zaireen when they travel to Iraq. We plan to have a Pakistan House in Karbala and open consulates in Najaf and Karbala. He said a medical center will also be established for Zaireen visiting Iraq.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that he also briefed his Iraqi counterpart about the gross human rights violations taking place in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
He said both sides have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a bilateral political consultation mechanism for regular consultations on issues of regional and global issues so that they can synchronize their positions at the global forums.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Dr Fuad Hussein in his remarks recognized that Pakistan is playing an important role in the Afghan peace process.
He said Pakistan believes in various political groups come and work together for peace in Afghanistan.
As regards Jammu and Kashmir dispute, he stressed the need for resolution of the longstanding dispute through dialogue between Pakistan and India.
Expressing the desire to strengthen trade and other relations with Pakistan, the Iraqi Foreign Minister said Pakistani Zaireens are welcomed in Iraq. He said this sort of interaction will help further strengthen bilateral relations.
To a question, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan will continue to facilitate the Afghan peace process despite the negative statements emanating from some quarters in Afghanistan.
He once again made it clear that Pakistan has no favorites in Afghanistan and ultimately it is the Afghans who have to sit and work out the future for themselves.
Iraq Foreign Minister Dr Fuad Hussein arrived in Islamabad on a two-day official visit on Wednesday.
On his arrival at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was received by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the Foreign Office said.
On his arrival at @ForeignOfficePk, the Foreign Minister of Iraq was warmly received by Foreign Minister @SMQureshiPTI. He also planted a sapling a tree at the Foreign Office lawns.@Iraqimofa @pakiniraq pic.twitter.com/bsvntc1amZ
— Spokesperson 🇵🇰 MoFA (@ForeignOfficePk) August 11, 2021
The two diplomats will hold an in-depth exchange of views on all aspects of bilateral relations, besides witnessing the signing of several memoranda of understanding.
The two ministers will also address a joint press conference.
During Hussein’s visit, the two sides will review close cooperation in multilateral organisations, in particular, the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
The visiting minister will also call on the top political and military leadership and have meetings with other dignitaries.
In a statement, the Foreign Office said Islamabad and Baghdad enjoyed close ties, perched on strong affinities of faith and culture.
“Pakistan accords high importance to these relations and is resolved to further deepen and broaden mutual cooperation in diverse fields. The relationship is reinforced by the similarity of views on a range of regional and global issues,” the statement said.
Hussein’s visit comes in the backdrop of a number of ministerial-level visits from both sides in the recent past, signifying the importance accorded by the two governments to augmenting the bilateral relationship. Qureshi had visited Iraq in May.
“The visit of Foreign Minister Dr. Fuad Hussein is expected to add further momentum to the positive trajectory of brotherly relations between Pakistan and Iraq,” the Foreign Office said.
Pakistan and Iraq can both collaborate and can be really valuable allies. Both countries are going through almost same economic conditions with Iraq recovering from year’s of warfare. A Partnership and freedom of travelling between the countries can greatly improve the ties and benefit both.
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