ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Iraq on Wednesday reaffirmed the long-standing and friendly ties between the two countries and vowed to further strengthen cooperation at all fronts.
The decision was taken during a meeting between Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and the Foreign Minister of Iraq Dr Fuad Hussein at the Foreign Office. The Iraqi foreign minister has arrived in Islamabad this morning for a two-day visit.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said that the two ministers had in-depth delegation-level talks, during which they exchanged views on bilateral relations as well as regional and global issues of common interest.
An MoU on ‘Bilateral Political Consultations’ was signed after the delegation-level talks. The MoU is about establishing a mechanism for regular consultations on bilateral issues as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Both sides reaffirmed the long-standing and friendly ties between the two countries, rooted in shared faith, common values, and cultural affinities. They also reaffirmed the desire to further strengthen bilateral relations in all fields.
Foreign Minister Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Iraq and acknowledged the successes of Iraq and its people in the fight against terrorism. He, in particular, appreciated the resilience of the Iraqi people in their efforts to overcome challenges and rebuild the country.
Recalling his recent visit to Iraq, Qureshi underscored the importance of further strengthening the current momentum of high-level exchanges to augment bilateral cooperation. In order to strengthen institutional efforts to expand mutual collaboration, the two sides agreed on the early convening of the 9th Session of the Pakistan – Iraq Joint Ministerial Commission.
Matters pertaining to zaireen visiting Iraq and people-to-people contacts also came under discussion. While appreciating the measures taken by the Iraqi government for the well-being of Zaireen during the COVID-19 times, Qureshi requested further facilitation in visas and travel, particularly during the Muharram and Arbaeen period.
Highlighting the shifting focus of Pakistan from geo-politics to geo-economics, Qureshi stressed the importance of expanding bilateral trade and economic cooperation through enhanced connectivity and closer business-to-business and people-to-people linkages. He highlighted the potential in promoting tourism, scientific and educational collaboration, as well as cooperation in food security and oil sectors.
FM Qureshi apprised the Iraqi Foreign Minister about the deteriorating human rights situation in the IIOJK and underlined Pakistan’s principled position on the peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in line with the UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
Foreign Minister Qureshi also apprised about Pakistan’s perspective for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Emphasising that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, the foreign minister underlined Pakistan’s consistent efforts for the promotion of an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement in Afghanistan. He expressed serious concern over the increase in violence, called upon the Afghan parties to engage constructively for a negotiated political settlement, and reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to continue to fully support all efforts for a political solution.
The Foreign Minister also exchanged views on the latest developments on the issue of Palestine and reaffirmed Pakistan’s consistent and unstinted support to the Palestinian cause.
In addition to meeting the Pakistani leadership, the Iraqi Foreign Minister will also meet key Federal Ministers to discuss issues relevant to their respective fields.
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