Engage Africa Policy to intensify exchanges, trade with Africa: FM Qureshi

FM Qureshi discuss bilateral, regional issues with Canadian counterpart

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Friday while underlining the government’s emphasis on geo-economics, said that Pakistan’s ‘Engage Africa’ policy was aimed at enhancing diplomatic footprint and intensifying exchanges and trade with Africa.

The foreign minister, in a meeting with the Chief of Staff of Land Forces, Lt. Gen. Asinda Fall of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), conveyed greetings from President and Prime Minister of Pakistan to President of DRC Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo.

General Fall is on an unprecedented six-day visit to Pakistan at the invitation of his counterpart.

Both sides expressed satisfaction at the traditionally cooperative and cordial ties. Coordination of positions and mutual support for each other’s candidatures at multilateral fora was also flagged.

The foreign minister expressed pride in Pakistan’s steadfast and unmatched support and contribution to peacekeeping, peace-building, and peacemaking effort in DRC with 53,000 uniformed personnel under UN auspices from 2003.

He praised the Congolese President’s contribution to promoting democracy and ably steering African Union as its Chairperson. Engage Africa Policy to intensify exchanges, trade with Africa: Qureshi Foreign Minister Qureshi also conveyed an invitation to his counterpart Cristophe Lutundula Apala to visit to Pakistan. He offered further training opportunities for DRC diplomats at Foreign Service Academy (FSA) Islamabad. He also urged the Congolese side to avail of Pakistan’s Technical Assistance Program facility for DRC youth in medicine, pharmacy, and engineering.

General Felix’s visit has set a positive tone for further strengthening and deepening of bilateral ties. The newly-elected Foreign Minister of Canada Mélanie Joly called Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi Thursday and discussed bilateral and regional issues.

During the call, the Foreign Minister congratulated her on her appointment as Canada’s Foreign Minister and hoped that ties between Pakistan and Canada would further strengthen and widen during her tenure.

The Foreign Minister underlined that a large and strong Pakistani community in Canada was an essential part of the Canadian economy and social fabric. Underscoring that Pakistan was making vigorous efforts to harness the imperatives of geo-economics and human development, the Foreign Minister emphasized that Pakistan and Canada must deepen their engagement in the investment, trade, and financial sectors.

The Foreign Minister stressed the significance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan for regional security and hoped that the global community will avoid making mistakes of the 1990s. Regarding the special session of OIC Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan held last month in Islamabad, the Foreign Minister apprised his counterpart about the unanimous resolution adopted by OIC CFM calling unequivocally for all possible humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan.

The Foreign Minister underscored the urgent priority of addressing the dire humanitarian needs and ensuring economic stability in Afghanistan. He also welcomed Canada’s humanitarian aid for Afghanistan worth 56 million Canadian dollars. The Foreign Minister also informed Foreign Minister Joly about Pakistan’s in-kind humanitarian assistance package of US$30 million, for Afghanistan, including food items and medicines.

The Foreign Minister stressed that Pakistan wanted to pursue policies of peace and economic development in the region and apprised the Canadian Foreign Minister about the dangers that BJP’s extremist policies were posing to regional peace and stability.

Under the Hindutva-inspired BJP-RSS dispensation in New Delhi, space for minorities particularly Muslims and Christians was continuously shrinking in India, the Foreign Minister added.

In the global context, the Foreign Minister underscored Pakistan’s belief that the main driver in the international relations should be cooperation, not confrontation, and win-win solutions.

The two Foreign Ministers resolved to further deepen bilateral co-operation and coordination in areas of mutual interests.

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