Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mr. Josep Borrell.
Foreign Minister offered condolences on the loss of precious lives in Europe due to Covid-19. He acknowledged the efforts of the European Commission to come up with a coordinated strategy to deal with the Pandemic.
Foreign Minister Qureshi delineated the steps taken by the government of Pakistan to save lives, secure livelihoods, and stimulate the economy. He thanked the European Union for its support to Pakistan in its endeavors to tackle Covid-19.
The Foreign Minister conveyed the desire to expand cooperation between Pakistan and the EU, post Covid-19, and expressed the hope that Pakistani nationals will not be subjected to any restrictions or discrimination as and when travel restrictions are relaxed by the European Union.
The Foreign Minister and High Representative exchanged views on a range of subjects related to Pakistan-EU partnership-including trade, next phase of GSP Plus, and early operationalization of Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP). The Foreign Minister suggested that the two sides may also engage in a structured dialogue on migration-related matters, while providing opportunities for skilled human resources from Pakistan.
Foreign Minister Qureshi conveyed concern on temporary suspension of PIA flights into Europe by the EASA. He underlined that the steps being taken by the government were to ensure highest level of flight safety in PIA operations and that PIA remained committed to maintaining highest standards and quality in its air operations. The Foreign Minister stressed the need for review of the EASA decision.
The Foreign Minister apprised his EU counterpart on the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in IOJ&K, and the latest moves by the Indian government to perpetuate its illegal occupation. He stressed the need for urgent steps to address the grave situation.
In the regional context, Foreign Minister Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process and highlighted Pakistan’s positive contribution towards that end. He stated that peace in Afghanistan was vital for regional peace, stability and prosperity. The Foreign Minister assured his EU counterpart that Pakistan would continue to facilitate the peace process as a shared responsibility.
The High Representative of the European Union condoled with the Foreign Minister on the loss of precious lives in the terrorist attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange. Thanking the EU High Representative, the Foreign Minister underlined Pakistan’s concerns about externally-sponsored terrorism against Pakistan and India’s material support to terrorist outfits targeting Pakistan.
Foreign Minister Qureshi invited the High Representative to visit Pakistan once the corona pandemic subsides, which he accepted with pleasure. Mr. Borrell stated that he also looked forward to welcoming the Foreign Minister in Brussels in the near future.