Pakistan desires balanced, broad-based relations with all countries: FO

Pakistan calls for de-escalation, renewed negotiations, sustained dialogue for Ukraine conflict

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Islamabad: (VOM). State Visit of President of Uzbekistan H.E. Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev from 3-4 March at the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan. The Uzbek President was accompanied by a high-level delegation, comprising the Foreign Minister and other members of the Cabinet, senior government officials, along business and media personnel.

One-on-one meeting of the Prime Minister and the Uzbek President was followed by delegation-level talks and Joint Media Stakeout. President Mirziyoyev also held a separate meeting with the President of Pakistan.

During the visit, the entire gamut of bilateral relations including cooperation in political, trade and economic, connectivity, education, culture, security, and defense domains was reviewed. Several bilateral Agreements/MoUs were signed.

2nd Round of Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC), 7th Session of Joint Ministerial Commission and 2nd Joint Business Forum were also held in Islamabad on the eve of the visit.

The visit is demonstrative of Pakistan’s enhanced engagement with Central Asian countries as part of the “Vision Central Asia” policy with political and diplomatic, trade and investment, energy and connectivity, security and defence, and people-to- people relations, as key strands.

We have been closely following the situation in Ukraine, and have remained proactively engaged with members of the international community.

Pakistan is committed to the fundamental principles of the UN Charter: self-determination of peoples, non-use or threat of use of force, sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, and pacific settlement of disputes. Equally, Pakistan upholds the principle of equal security for all. These principles must be consistently and universally respected.

Pakistan remains deeply concerned at the recent turn of events. This reflects a failure of diplomacy. Prime Minister Imran Khan regretted the latest situation between Russia and Ukraine, and said that Pakistan had hoped that diplomacy could avert military conflict.

We have since repeatedly stressed the need for de-escalation, renewed negotiations, sustained dialogue, and continuous diplomacy.

All efforts must be made to avoid further escalation of violence and loss of life as well as military, political and economic tensions which can pose an unprecedented threat to international peace and security and global economic stability. As consistently underlined by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the developing countries are hit the hardest economically by conflict anywhere.

We hope the talks initiated between representatives of the Russian Federation and Ukraine will succeed in bringing about a cessation of hostilities and normalization of the situation. A diplomatic solution in accordance with relevant multilateral agreements, international law, and the provisions of the UN Charter is indispensable.

Pakistan also supports all efforts to provide humanitarian relief to civilians in the affected areas.

We are most concerned about the safety and welfare of Pakistani citizens and students in Ukraine. The majority of them have been evacuated through a concerted effort in coordination with our concerned Missions there who have been working round the clock. Those who remain will be evacuated soonest. We appreciate the cooperation of the Ukrainian authorities as well as the Polish, Romanian, Hungarian and other neighboring countries in this context.

By way of quick roundup, at the invitation of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Russia for an official visit on 23-24 February 2022. The Prime Minister was accompanied by a high-level delegation including members of the Cabinet. The bilateral Summit between the Prime Minister and the Russian President was the highlight of the visit.

Prime Minister Imran Khan met with President Putin in the Kremlin on 24 February 2022. The two leaders held wide-ranging consultations on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest. The Prime Minister reaffirmed the importance of Pakistan-Stream Gas Pipeline as a flagship economic project between Pakistan and Russia and discussed cooperation on prospective energy-related projects.

Foreign Minister Qureshi also held delegation level talks with FM Lavrov.

There has been a flurry of diplomatic activities in recent days.

The Foreign Minister received the Executive Director of United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Ms. Catherine Russell, and Mr. Eamon Gilmore, European Union Special Representative for Human Rights on 21 February.

Same day, the Foreign Minister also received Ambassador Redwan Hussien, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia. The Foreign Minister highlighted the Government’s “Engage Africa” policy to deepen its across-the-board engagement with the African continent and the steps taken in this regard.

The Foreign Minister also held telephonic conversation with Annalena Baerbock, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany on 21 February. The two Ministers exchanged views on bilateral relations as well as important regional issues.

On 27 February, the Foreign Minister held a telephonic conversation with Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba. Foreign Minister Qureshi shared Pakistan’s perspective, reiterating serious concern at the situation, underscoring the importance of de-escalation, and stressing the indispensability of diplomacy.

Also on 27 February, Foreign Minister Qureshi received a telephone call from Lord Tariq Ahmad (Minister for South Asia, North Africa, the United Nations and the Commonwealth at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). The two sides exchanged views on Pakistan-UK relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest.

The Foreign Minister had telephone conversations with his Polish and Romanian counterparts on 28 February and 1st March respectively. The Foreign Minister expressed appreciation to the two countries for warmly receiving Pakistani students and community being evacuated from Ukraine.

On 2nd March, the Foreign Minister also spoke to Mr. Josep Borell, Vice President of the European Commission and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Views were exchanged on the current situation in Ukraine and the Emergency Session of the UN General Assembly.

Pakistan and Ethiopia held the inaugural round of Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC) on 21 February 2022, led by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and Ambassador Redwan Hussien, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.

On 28 February 2022, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood addressed the High-Level Segment of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva in virtual format. In his statement, the Foreign Secretary underscored that adherence to international norms, without any distinction or discrimination, remained fundamental for sustainable global and regional peace and security. He urged the international community to ensure an equitable and balanced approach towards issues of arms control and disarmament based on the principle of equal security for all states.

On 1 March, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood received Australia’s Special Representative on Afghanistan, Daniel Sloper. Sharing Pakistan’s perspective, the Foreign Secretary reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to a peaceful, stable and connected Afghanistan and highlighted efforts in support of this goal.

I wish to inform you that Pakistan and the United States are scheduled to hold an Intersessional Meeting of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) on 7 March. The US delegation for this meeting will be led by the Assistant United States Trade Representative.

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