British Secretary of State calls on Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani
Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that Pakistan greatly values its strategic relationship with the United Kingdom and looks forward to further strengthening it. The deep cooperation between both countries in diverse fields is a manifestation of the depth of bilateral relations. He said that both nations have mutuality of views on many regional and international issues.
During meeting with the British delegation led by the Secretary of State for International Development, Mr. Andrew Michell at Prime Minister’s House this afternoon, the Prime Minister appreciated UK’s support for Pakistan’s quest for wider market access in the EU. He hoped that the British leadership would continue to support Pakistan’s case for EU’s GSP Plus facilities, the passage of EU’s trade concession package in WTO as well as early commencement of negotiations for an EU-Pakistan free trade agreement.
The Prime Minister observed that terrorism is a global phenomenon and there is a need of enhanced engagement and cooperation at all levels to fight it out. He said that any unilateral action would undermine the government’s resolve. He further said that Pakistan has made more sacrifices in the war than any other country; therefore, the international community needs to realize and acknowledge this fact. He stressed upon the need to use enhanced strategic dialogue mechanism to further strengthen relations between Pakistan and Britain in all areas for mutual benefits.
The Prime Minister said that Pakistan’s economic indicators are showing positive trend due to government’s fiscal policies despite last year’s devastating floods, energy crisis and war on terror. He further added that that the worst energy deficit being experienced by the country has slowed down economic growth besides disrupting the life of common man. He said that Pakistan looks forward to cooperation from its friends for addressing this challenge. He mentioned that he took up the issue of energy shortage in his recent meeting with the Secretary of State Ms. Hilary Clinton and sought US’ cooperation to overcome this challenge. The Prime Minister stated that his Government is making all possible efforts and employing all resources to manage this problem in the short-and long-terms.
The Prime Minister appreciated British Premier David Cameron’s positive statement in the House of Common. He also appreciated the remarks made by British Premier during his press conference with President Obama on 25th May 2011, saying that Pakistan has rendered more sacrifices in this war than the entire international community put together.
The Prime Minister apprised the visiting dignitary about Pakistan’s initiatives to improve relations with the neighbouring countries. He told the Secretary of State that the Afghan President Mr. Hamid Karzai will be visiting Pakistan on the 10th and 11th of June this year. He also informed about the recent meetings of Secretary Defence, Secretary Commerce and Secretary Foreign Affairs with their Indian counterparts.
The Prime Minister thanked the British Government for its generous relief assistance for the flood victims. He appreciated Britain for its financial support in the social sector development especially education.
British Secretary of State for International Development thanked the Prime Minister for his kind remarks. He appreciated Government’s successful measures to navigate the country through economic difficulties. He hoped that economic reform agenda would stay on track and achieve expected results.
Mr. Andrew Michell held that bonds between Britain and Pakistan are very strong. The one million strong Pakistani community in UK serves as a bridge between the two countries. He acknowledged that Britons of Pakistani origin have made great contributions to the development of the British society and are a valuable asset for both the countries.
He assured the Pakistani Premier that the British Government would continue to extend its support to Pakistan in war on terror and latter’s attempt to overcoming its economic difficulties.
Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, MOS for Foreign Affairs, Senator Syeda Sughra Imam, Dr. Nadeem Ul Haq, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Mr. Adam Thomson, High Commissioner, Mr. Moazzam Malik, DFID director for Western Asia and Stabilisation, Mr. George Turkington, DFID Head Pakistan, Ms. Margo Passmore, Programme Manager, DFID Pakistan, Mr. Richard Parr, Special Advisor to Secretary of state, Mr. Mark Richardson, Private Secretary to Secretary of State and other senior officers of the Prime Minister’s Secretariat attended the meeting.
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