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Pakistan committed to promote regional contacts, unity: FM


ANTALYA: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan is committed to promoting regional contacts and unity as a founding member of Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO).
In an informal interaction with ECO Secretary General Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour on the side-lines of Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey, the foreign minister said that Pakistan, in the light of ECO framework, is making sincere efforts with the member countries to enhance mutual trade, economic development and peace and stability in the region.
He stressed the need for continued cooperation for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, sustainable development and restoration of law and order.
The ECO Secretary General commended Pakistan’s proactive and vibrant role in the Economic Cooperation Organization.
Earlier on Saturday, Qureshi called for a renewed focus on geo-economics by the Asian countries and stressed upon the need for promotion of a rules-based global order. He was participating in a high-level panel discussion on ‘Regional Cooperation in Asia’ along with the foreign ministers of Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in Antalya Diplomacy Forum, in Turkey.
Qureshi highlighted the challenges being faced by Asia in the form of unresolved disputes, tensions induced from within and without, renewed arms race, containment policies, unilateralism, poverty, Covid-19 and climate change.
Highlighting the potential of Asia in the 21st Century,the foreign minister drew attention to the possibilities of cooperation that existed on the continent. He emphasised that connectivity and greater regional integration in the form of trade and investment would pave the way for a successful Asian century.
In this context, he noted that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative, offers great opportunities for the countries of the region. Qureshi underlined three pillars of Pakistan’s policy of regional connectivity, development partnerships, and peace and prosperity.
In his remarks, he also laid out five steps to promote greater regional cooperation in Asia including focus on sustainable development, poverty alleviation, engagement with the international community and international financial institutions for debt relief for the developing countries in Asia in order to provide them with fiscal space to deal with the challenges, arresting illicit financial flows out of Asia gained from proceeds of crime and corruption and tackling climate change.
During the discussion, the foreign ministers on the panel called for increased multilateralism to deal with the challenges faced by Asia and agreed on the need for a renewed focus on transit and connectivity projects in the region.
Meanwhile, Pakistan and Turkey on Sunday exchanged views on the latest developments in the Afghan peace process and the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan.
According to details, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavusoglu, wherein matters of mutual interest, latest developments in the Afghan peace process and the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan were discussed in the meeting.
Qureshi lauded Turkey’s valuable efforts and its outreach to various Afghan parties. Underscoring Pakistan’s abiding interest in a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan, he illustrated Pakistan’s consistent efforts to facilitate the Afghan peace process. He expressed hope that the Afghan parties would seize the opportunity and work out an inclusive politically-negotiated settlement.
He congratulated his Turkish counterpart on successfully organising the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, which saw high-level attendance of global leaders. Qureshi noted that the forum provided an excellent opportunity to discuss and to engage on various contemporary global issues.
While taking stock of the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries, the two sides discussed the ongoing preparations for the 7th Session of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council that will be held in Turkey this year.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan reiterates its call for greater global responsibility-sharing, redoubling of efforts for durable solutions, and an early peaceful political settlement in Afghanistan that paves the way for dignified, time-bound and well-resourced repatriation of Afghan refugees supported by the international community.
In his message on the World Refugee Day on Sunday, he said for over four decades, Pakistan has led by example in refugee protection as the country is one of the world’s largest refugee hosting countries.
He said Pakistan still hosts around 3 million Afghans providing them necessary protection according to the country’s inclusive policies on public health, education and livelihoods, during the ongoing Covid-19 response.
He said the people of Pakistan have contributed more than their fair share of shouldering the international responsibility by hosting millions of refugees.
The foreign minister said the Covid-compounded socio-economic and health challenges for developing countries that host millions of refugees necessitate global political and financial support to the host countries. He said that Pakistan has also been playing a key role in facilitating sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
Commending work of UNHCR with respect to leadership and support to the refugees and host communities throughout the world, he said this day serves as an opportunity to take stock of the drivers of conflicts and reminds us to enhance investment in peace, conflict prevention and conflict resolution.
The World Refugee Day was observed on Sunday across the country to honour the courage of refugees around the world who have been forced outside of their homes. This year the theme for World Refugee Day is ‘Together we heal, learn and shine’.
The day aims to build understanding and empathy for refugees building their life in countries new to them. The UN has called for the greater inclusion of refugees in the healthcare system across the world. – TLTP