ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Italy agree if there is to be an expansion of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), it should be based on the basis of regional representation. These views were expressed by Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi and the visiting Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini at the Foreign Office while talking to the media on Thursday.
Both the sides held detailed talks earlier where a host of issues came under discussion. Both the foreign ministers discussed bilateral, regional and international issues and discussed ways and means for enhancing the bilateral trade and the issue of expansion in the permanent members of the UNSC.
“It was a very good meeting with harmony on all issues. Amongst issues pertaining to international relations, it was the UNSC on which both the sides deliberated upon for quite some time,” says an official.
The issue gains importance after the announcement of President Obama that the US would support India’s inclusion in the UNSC but on Wednesday this was followed by another announcement in which the US said that this inclusion should come without “veto power”.
Qureshi said Pakistan wanted a “comprehensive, democratic and representative expansion in the Security Council “ on the basis of regional representation. He pointed to a formula based on regional representation and disagreed with those who wanted to keep on adding permanent members to the highest body.
Frarttini echoed these views, saying Italy favored reforms in the UNSC and this did not mean blocking out the membership of any particular country. “But this should be done based on regional representation”, he said.
On the issue of protecting human rights of minorities, he pointed out that this should be done not only in Pakistan but also in Kashmir and Palestine. To a query on Kashmir, he replied, “Yes, it is a problem for Pakistan and needs to be addressed.” He said that it was in India’s interest to maintain good relations with Pakistan.
Qureshi responded, “Pakistan will not allow misuse of blasphemy laws and ensure the rights of minorities at all costs.” He said, “It’s very important that international community should continue its support to Afghanistan to train its army, improve economic conditions and fight against terrorism to ensure stable, peaceful and developed Afghanistan that it is also in the interest of Europe.”
Referring to Pak-EU trade cooperation, the Italian foreign minister said, “We support the negotiations for Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and EU,” adding that Pakistan needed more access for its products to the European Union.
He announced an additional Euro 81 million on the projects being finalised by Pakistan government in the affected areas. The Italian foreign minister said his country had also offered to Pakistani graduates to train them in different subjects in the Italian companies, especially in the field of energy, agriculture technology and other related subjects.
Frattini also met COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani where cooperation on projects to enhance defence cooperation was discussed.