Sartaj Aziz meets senior British cabinet members discusses bilateral cooperation

Islamabad, March 13, 2014 (PPI-OT): Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, who is on an official visit to UK for review of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD) between Pakistan and UK met the following key British cabinet members today: International Development Secretary Justine Greening, Home Secretary Theresa May and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

Secretary Greening appreciated the concrete steps taken by the present Pakistan government in the areas of tax collection and economic reforms, and was hopeful that the present political dispensation would be able to achieve the desired objectives.

She also stated that the DFID programme in Pakistan was their most successful programme and reiterated UK’s commitment to extend further assistance to help Pakistan meet its reform targets and enhance trade and investment in Pakistan.

Home Secretary May lauded Pakistan’s new internal security policy and offered UK’s support for its timely and effective implementation. She also said that Pakistan’s stability was important for the entire South Asian Region and UK was ready for its meaningful cooperation to strengthen regional security.

Defence Secretary Hammond discussed the ongoing defence cooperation between the two countries and hoped for a positive outcome of the next round of Defence Cooperation Forum (DCF) being held in London next week. The post-NATO withdrawal scenario in Afghanistan and its implications for the region were also discussed in detail.

Adviser Sartaj Aziz appreciated UK’s support and cooperation in diverse areas including socio-economic development, security and counter-terrorism, and defence. He briefed his British counter-parts on the initiatives undertaken by Pakistan on revival of economy, addressing energy crisis, introducing transparency and good-governance and expanding tax base.

The two sides expressed satisfaction over cooperation under the framework of Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD) and hoped that the targets set under the framework would be achieved within the given time frame.

The Adviser spoke at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) on “Post-2014 Transition in Afghanistan: Pakistan’s Perspective on Regional Stability and Security”. The event was well attended by diverse audience including policy makers, academia, think-tank notables and the media.

Mr. Sartaj Aziz is on a three-day official visit to the United Kingdom for second Foreign Minister’s level review of the Pakistan-UK Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD). He will also participate in the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) Meeting on 14 March 2014.

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