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Monday July 22, 2024

Bilawal in NY, to chair special moot of G-77, China

By Mariana Baabar
December 14, 2022
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari receives welcome in New York. — APP
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari receives welcome in New York. — APP

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has reached New York to host the special G-77 and China ministerial meeting at the United Nations headquarters on December 15-16.

He was received by Ambassador Masood Khan and Permanent Representative at the UN Munir Akram and will be in US till December 21.

The foreign minister’s programme includes multiple multilateral and bilateral engagements in New York and Washington, DC.

”The foreign minister will host and chair the Ministerial Conference of G-77 and China, the largest negotiating bloc of developing countries within the UN system. Agenda of the conference includes discussion on multiple challenges facing the developing countries in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the face of Covid-19 pandemic, climate-induced disasters and geopolitical developments,” said Foreign Office.

Bilawal will also meet UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and participate in a high-level debate at the UN Security Council on the theme of “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: New Orientation for Reformed Multilateralism” to be held on December 14.

The Foreign Office did not mention details about the December 14 event which the Indian media says is an open debate allowing any country to participate and the session will be chaired by Indian Minister for External Affairs Dr S. Jaishankar. Another session by him is related to counter terrorism.

The News reached out to FO spokeswoman and her team about the December 14 session, but they declined to respond. This will probably be the first time that Pakistan participates in a session presided over by India.

While both Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers will be under one roof, it is unlikely, that they will have bilateral talks. Certainly a far cry from bilateral relations when on September 27, 2011, Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna attended a reception hosted by then Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar at a local hotel during a UN session in New York and they met briefly.

The foreign minister will travel to Washington, DC, on December 19 where he will hold meetings with high-level government officials, congressional leaders, Pakistani-American businessmen and community members. He will also engage with think-tanks and the media.

The Foreign Office did not confirm whether Foreign Minister Bilawal will meet his US counterpart Anthony Blinken or others at the State Department.

During his official meetings, bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest will be discussed to carry forward the momentum in Pakistan-US bilateral relations, particularly in areas of trade, investment, climate resilience and economic development.

The foreign minister will also share Pakistan’s perspective on climate change and sensitise his interlocutors on the colossal damage inflicted by climate-induced floods in Pakistan and the post-flood reconstruction and rehabilitation plan of the Government of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Tajik President Emomali lands in Islamabad today (Wednesday). Pakistan expects this very important visit will impart a renewed impetus to deepening cooperation between the two countries in diverse fields and further strengthen the growing geo-economic partnership.

Tajikistan is the closest neighbour of Pakistan in Central Asia separated only by the narrow Wakhan Corridor. This proximity makes Tajikistan an important partner of Pakistan in Central Asia.

Emomali will here for a two-day official visit on the invitation of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, announced the Foreign Office.

During the visit, the two sides will exchange views on further strengthening bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas. A number of bilateral agreements and MoUs are expected to be signed.

Though the Foreign Office did not mention it, Afghanistan should be an important item high on the agenda in the face of unacceptable law and order situation, which is allowing different shades of militants to operate freely from Afghan soil. Pakistan has recently been attacked by terrorists both in Kabul and across the Pak-Afghan border at Chaman, resulting in fatal casualties.

Being in close proximity with Afghanistan, Tajikistan is also apprehensive.

“Pakistan and Tajikistan are brotherly countries linked through longstanding historical, cultural and religious bonds. These ties are marked by mutual respect and exceptional cordiality. The two countries have commonality of views on various regional and international issues,” adds the Foreign Office. 9