FM Qureshi, EU parliamentarians discuss bilateral ties

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi Wednesday met a group of influential Belgian Parliamentarians and Members of the European Parliament (MEP) in Brussels and exchanged views with the parliamentarians on a broad range of issues, including Pakistan-Belgium and Pakistan-EU relations, and regional and international developments.

The Foreign Minister briefed the Parliamentarians on Pakistan’s cordial and friendly relationship with the EU and all its member states, which were manifest in close and frequent engagements.

He underscored that Pakistan-EU Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP), signed in June 2019, had become the blueprint and roadmap for bilateral cooperation. He noted that Pakistan and the EU had multiple mechanisms and dialogue frameworks, where all issues of mutual interest were discussed in an open and candid manner, said a press release.

The Foreign Minister stated that trade and investment ties were a major component of Pakistan’s multifaceted relationship with the EU and Belgium. GSP Plus had been a mutually beneficial undertaking that played an important part in the growth of Pakistan’s bilateral trade with the EU countries. Pakistan remained committed to full implementation of the 27 international conventions related to GSP Plus.

Highlighting the role of Parliaments in providing vision and opening new vistas of cooperation, the Foreign Minister urged them to work with their Pakistani colleagues to further strengthen Pakistan-Belgium and Pakistan-EU partnerships.
The Foreign Minister briefed the Parliamentarians on Pakistan’s key role in evacuation operations from Afghanistan post August 15.

He underscored the importance of the international community’s engagement with Afghanistan for stabilizing the situation, reviving the economy and facilitating lasting peace and stability. He stressed that international engagement and support were vital to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and fresh outflow of refugees as well as prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a terrorist safe haven.

The Foreign Minister also apprised the Parliamentarians of the dire human rights and humanitarian situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). He urged them to raise their voice at the unabated atrocities and denial of right to self-determination to the Kashmiri people.

The Belgian Parliamentarians and the Members of the European Parliament thanked the Foreign Minister for his briefing on Pakistan’s relations with Belgium and the EU as well as regional developments.

They highly appreciated Pakistan’s assistance in the evacuation operations from Afghanistan and facilitating international efforts for provision of humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people. They also agreed to enhance parliamentary exchanges with Pakistan.

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