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Friday July 19, 2024

Dar wraps up his Brussels visit with summit address, crucial meetings

According to the Foreign Office, both sides agreed on importance of the longstanding cooperation between Islamabad and Beijing in civil nuclear technology

By Mariana Baabar & Murtaza Ali Shah
March 23, 2024
Pakistan Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar (left) meets International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael M Grossi on the sidelines of the Nuclear Energy Summit in Brussels on March 21, 2024. — Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Pakistan Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar (left) meets International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael M Grossi on the sidelines of the Nuclear Energy Summit in Brussels on March 21, 2024. — Ministry of Foreign Affairs

ISLAMABAD/ LONDON: Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar wrapped up his visit to Brussels to attend the first nuclear energy summit by pointing to the challenges that developing countries face because of climate vulnerability and appealed for aggressive financing of nuclear energy projects. This was his first visit abroad after taking over as the foreign minister.

Important on the sidelines of the summit was a meeting between Ishaq Dar and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing, who held out an assurance that China would assist Pakistan in stabilising its financial situation.

According to the Foreign Office, both sides agreed on importance of the longstanding cooperation between Islamabad and Beijing in civil nuclear technology.

In his remarks that Dar made in a video message, issued on the sidelines of the first nuclear energy summit in Brussels, he said the summit was a positive development for discussing alternative energy for countries vulnerable to climate change at a time when Pakistan already had nuclear energy capacity of more than 3,500 megawatts.

“Nuclear is the safest option — it is safe and cost effective. And the world currently needs it. However, a global opinion is emerging, and I strongly urge multilateral lenders to consider aggressive financing so that developing countries can also make use of nuclear energy.”

He told the summit that as a country severely affected by climate change and climate-induced disasters, Pakistan was keen to diversify its energy mix with low-carbon energy sources.

The foreign minister called for enhanced international cooperation, including technical assistance and provision of financial assistance by multilateral financial institutions, to ensure energy security of developing countries.

He reiterated, said the foreign ministry, Pakistan’s readiness to share its experience and expertise in the field of civilian nuclear technology with other countries, particularly the developing states.

The foreign minister also held bilateral meetings with Azerbaijan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bayramov Jeyhun, Turkiye Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and UAE Minister for Energy and Infrastructure Almazrouel Suhail. In these meetings, discussions focused on enhancing bilateral relations and exploring new avenues of cooperation.

After attending the summit, the foreign minister reached London and held important meetings with the UK ministers. FM Ishaq Dar held separate meetings with UK Minister of State for South Asia and Commonwealth Lord Tariq Ahmad as well as Minister of State for Development Andrew Mitchell at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office in London on Friday morning.

Pakistan-UK relations, regional and global security, Pakistan’s role at the UN and other multilateral forums as well as Pakistan’s economic and development vision came under discussion. Lord Ahmad, in his meeting with Ishaq Dar, felicitated him on assuming the position of foreign minister, and expressed the desire to work closely with the new government for going forward.

The two sides underscored the deep bonds of friendship and amity that existed between Pakistan and the UK. Next steps for further deepening of relations including leveraging the untapped potential of the British Pakistani diaspora to further expand trade and investment opportunities, came under discussion.

In response to FM Dar’s call for early resumption of PIA flights to the UK, his host assured that it was working closely at the technical level to overcome the hurdles and help expedite resumption of flights at the earliest possible. The FM assured the UK that all technical hurdles on Pakistan’s side would be removed at the earliest, enabling PIA to resume flights to the UK.

With reference to Afghanistan, the UK minister of state for South Asia thanked the FM for Pakistan’s continued support on resettlement of Afghan nationals. The foreign minister apprised him about the current situation.

FM Dar expressed wishes for complete health and recovery for His Majesty King Charles-III as well as the Princess of Wales. The FM extended cordial invitations to Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron, Minister Lord Ahmad and Minister Mitchell to visit Pakistan, which was warmly received.