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October 8, 2020

Pakistan, EU agree to strengthen engagement at multiple levels

National

October 8, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the European Union held its 6th round of Pakistan-European Union Political Dialogue on Tuesday, its first round since the signing of the Pakistan-EU Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP) in June 2019.

The virtual dialogue saw Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood in a meeting with Enrique Mora, Deputy Secretary General of European External Action Service (EEAS). It was agreed to strengthen Pakistan-EU engagement at multiple levels. The foreign secretary invited Deputy Secretary General Mora to visit Pakistan as soon as the COVID-19 situation permits.

In order to further consolidate its relationship with EU, Pakistan pointed towards a summit level as well as strategic dialogue at the level of the foreign ministers. While both sides acknowledge the importance of the mutually-beneficial GSP Plus status granted by the European Union to Pakistan, it was pointed out that COVID-19 has had a detrimental effect on the world trade, including Pakistan’s exports to the EU. In this regard, Pakistan felt it would help if both hoped Pakistan and the European Union could work together to increase trade in diversified fields.

“The foreign secretary highlighted Pakistan’s contributions to counter-terrorism and addressing illegal migration and called for opening new channels of legal migration,” said a statement from the Foreign Office.

The 6th round of political dialogue covered a broad-ranging agenda-including Pakistan-EU bilateral matters and exchange of views on regional and international issues. Of importance to Pakistan, said the foreign secretary, was Islamabad’s desire to further expand the existing collaboration, especially in trade, investment, education, science and technology, people-to-people contacts, human rights and development cooperation.

The foreign secretary highlighted Pakistan’s positive contributions to the Afghan peace process and underlined that the historic opportunity created by US-Taliban peace agreement and commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations should be seized by all Afghan stakeholders to work out an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.