British Foreign Secretary Calls on Prime Minister Gilani

Islamabad: The British Foreign Secretary William Hague called on Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani here, today and discussed matters pertaining to Pak-UK bilateral relations, strategic dialogue between the two countries trade access to EU markets for Pakistan’s goods. Collaboration between the two countries in the fields of trade and investment and education came under discussion during the meeting, says a press release received here today from London.

Referring to Prime Minister David Cameron and Mr. Hague’s recent visits to Pakistan as very useful, Prime Minister Gilani emphasized the need of more frequent interaction at the political level between the two countries. He further added that since most of the problems faced by Pakistan today are legacy of Afghan conflict, people of Pakistan expect friendly countries, especially Britain to take lead in helping Pakistan achieve development in accordance with national priorities. He said that in this regard Pakistan greatly values DFID’s assistance.

The Prime Minister appreciated UKs in E.U for access to Pakistani Goods in European markets and also call for UKs support to convince India to withdraw its reservation in WTO. Pakistan he’ added noted the positive recommendations of the EU Council of Ministers about Pakistan in their meeting on 18 July. The statements he said recognizes Pakistan ’s sacrifices and achievements against terrorism and also reaffirms EU’s Commitment to Pakistan‘s eligibility to GSP pus. As partners the PM said Pakistan look forward to the early convening of the 3rd Pakistan EU Summit and work towards in achieving our common objectives of strengthening democracy, human rights, economic prosperity and a world free from terrorism.

The Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan’s will and resolve to fight extremism and terrorism. He how ever mentioned that Pakistan requires support from friendly countries like UK to enhance its capacity in upgrading the security apparatus as well as stabilizing its economy. He appreciated British Prime Minister’s speech in the parliament supporting Pakistan’s role for global peace and security. The best way to fight extremism and terrorism is to strengthen democracy and address the route causes which stem from socio-economic deprivation.

The Prime Minister emphasize that the strategic relation between Pakistan and UK have to go beyond the common objectives to defeat terrorism. He expressed the hope that UK would be able to withdraw travel advisory to its citizens which would greatly help to promote business and trade linkages between the two counters. He also hoped that the British Airways would soon start its operations in Pakistan.

Hague said that his government would continue to extend all possible support in promoting educational facilities in Pakistan besides employment generation and poverty eradication. He said, the UK recognizes that no country has suffered more from the scourge of terrorism than Pakistan.

He further added that Pakistan and UK have unbreakable partnership and shared determination to defeat terrorism and violent extremist. He said, “It is in the interest of both the countries to sustain the strategic relationship based on mutual respect and mutual trust and benefit.” He also assured continued support of the British government to Pakistan’s efforts in fight against militancy and terrorism and to meet the critical economic challenges facing the country.

Mr. Hague stated that UK clearly understands Pakistan’s strategic position and problems. UK he mentioned considers that the resolution of issues in the region are in the interest of entire world. UK he said looks for long term strategic partnership with Pakistan beyond 2014. UK he mentioned is also anxiously looking at the positive outcome of Afghan reconciliation process to bring about peace and stability in that country as well as the region. Any arrangements derived at for peace and stability of Afghanistan he added must ensure peace and security of Pakistan. He further assured continued support to Pakistan for trade asses to European Union Markets also the endeavours to institutionalize Pakistan EU relationship.

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