Pak-Belgium FMs discuss bilateral ties, Afghanistan’s humanitarian situation

Pakistan-Norway review spectrum of bilateral relations, pledges resolve for further economic cooperation

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BRUSSELS: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Belgium’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister Sophie Wilmes met here and discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

In a meeting held at the Egmont Palace, the two sides expressed commitment to boost ties particularly in areas of trade, education, and science and technology.

This is the first visit of a Pakistani foreign minister to Belgium in a decade.

Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed confidence that the two governments would collaborate in diverse fields for the benefit of their people.

He updated his counterpart on the atrocities carried out by Indian in the Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Sophie Wilmes thanked FM Qureshi for the facilitation extended by Pakistan in safe relocating of the Belgian nationals from Afghanistan after the fall of government in August.

Meanwhile, The 11th Round of Pakistan-Norway Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC) was held in Oslo yesterday. The Pakistan side was led by Additional Secretary (Europe), Dr. Muhammad Tariq, while the Norwegian delegation was headed by Mr. Vebjørn Dysvik, Director General, Department for Regional Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Babar Amin also participated in the meeting.

The two sides reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and discussed opportunities for further cooperation, especially in the spheres of trade & investment, energy, education, parliamentary exchanges, health and global pandemics, culture and enhancement of people-to-people contacts. Additional Secretary (Europe) apprised the Norwegian side of the government’s shift from geopolitics to geo-economics. He invited Norwegian companies to benefit from Pakistan’s investor friendly policies, particularly in clean and green energy, climate change, and agriculture. He also proposed the establishment of a joint economic commission and the initiation of negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty between the two countries.

The Norwegian side was apprised of efforts being undertaken by Pakistan for bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan. He emphasized that the international community should assist the Afghan people in avertinga humanitarian crisis. The Norwegian side appreciated Pakistan’s assistance in the evacuation of Norwegian nationals from Afghanistan and expressed gratitude for acceding to Norway’s request for allowing additional diplomats to be based in Islamabad to look after Afghan affairs.

Dr. Tariq briefed his Norwegian counterpart on the atrocities being committed by Indian security forces in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and the Indian government’s unilateral actions to alter its demographic structure. He hoped that Norway would use its good offices to put pressure on India to reverse illegitimate Indian actions and take appropriate steps to stop the human rights violations in IIOJK.

The two delegations expressed satisfaction with their cooperation at international fora, including the United Nations, and resolved to continue their mutual support.

Additional Secretary also called on Mr. Henrik Thune, State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They discussed matters of mutual interest andcooperation on regional and international issues. The Additional Secretary highlighted atrocities perpetrated by Indian security forces in IIOJK.

Dr. Tariq also called on Ms. Ine Eriksen Søreide, President of Norwegian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee. The Additional Secretary underlined the importance of enhanced bilateral and parliamentary cooperation. He shared Pakistan’s perspective on Afghanistan and the human rights situation in IIOJK.

Dr. Tariq invited Mr. Thune and Ms. Søreide to visit Pakistan.

Pakistan and Norway share longstanding, cooperative relations, both at bilateral and multilateral levels. A sizable Pakistani community resides in Norway and positively contributes to its society. Norway is one of the leading investors in Pakistan.

The next round of the Pakistan-Norway BPC will be held in Islamabad on mutually agreed dates.

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