ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday said that Pakistan wanted to assist Afghanistan in capacity building and reconstruction efforts, including through the involvement of Pakistan’s private sector. In this regard, he said Pakistan was willing to continue working with the international community and remain engaged with Afghanistan.
He was speaking as Chief Guest at a dinner hosted by the Spanish Ambassador Gonzalo Maria Quintero Saravia here today. The Spanish Ambassador hosted the dinner in Spain’s capacity as the current President of the rotating Presidency of the EU.
The dinner was attended by all Envoys of the EU countries based in Islamabad.
The Foreign Minister recalled the visit of EU Ambassadors to Peshawar and their support to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He briefed the EU Ambassadors on the Government’s policies aimed at strengthening democracy and democratic institutions in the country.
The successful counter-terrorism strategy of the Government was also highlighted.
On Foreign Policy issues, the Foreign Minister informed the EU Ambassadors about several initiatives, including the “Friends of Democratic Pakistan” which had lent strategic support to Pakistan in its difficult times.
Pakistan was looking forward to the next FoDP Ministerial meeting in Brussels in August this year which will be co-chaired by Pakistan and the EU Commission, he added.
Qureshi said that the Prime Minister of Pakistan, accompanied by a high level delegation would visit Brussels on June 4, 2010 for the Second Pakistan-EU Summit meeting. The Summit would help raise awareness in the EU about Pakistan’s challenges as well as further strengthening political and economic ties with the EU.
It would be a continuation of the regular interaction between the two sides at the highest level since the institution of the democratic Government in Pakistan.
He emphasized that Pakistan wanted a strong multifaceted relationship with the EU signified by high level contacts between the two sides.
An important aspect of this relationship, he said was provision of preferential market access in EU markets as it would help stabilize Pakistan’s economy which had suffered enormously as a result of Pakistan’s role as a frontline state against terrorism.
The Foreign Minister also briefed the EU Ambassadors on Pakistan’s relations with the neighboring countries. In the context of Pakistan-India relations, he mentioned about the meeting between the two Prime Ministers in Thimpu on April 29 and his own subsequent telephone conversation with his Indian counterpart.
The Spanish Ambassador emphasized that the Government of Spain, in its capacity as President of the EU, had placed a strong emphasis on strengthening Pakistan-EU relations. Therefore, the holding of the Second Pakistan-EU Summit during the Spanish Presidency was a significant development in these relations.
He assured the Foreign Minister of EU’s continuing interest in further consolidating these relations with Pakistan.