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June 8, 2021

Khan, Johnson discuss bilateral ties, Afghan peace process

LONDON: Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is likely to visit London next month for high level official meetings and also to watch Pakistan vs England cricket match in either Cardiff or London, on Monday held a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and exchanged views on the current trajectory of bilateral relations, Afghan peace process, Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.

A source in the government confirmed that both the UK and Pakistan administrations are finalising the visit plan. The source shared that PM Khan is likely to watch Pakistan play against England either in Cardiff on July 8 or in London at the Lord’s on July 10. This will be PM Khan’s first visit to the UK, three years after taking oath as the Prime Minister.

The News understands that the UK government extended an invitation to the Prime Minister of Pakistan to visit the country for discussions and also to watch the start of Pakistan’s cricket campaign in the UK this summer.

The credible sources shared that both sides are finalising meeting plans of PM Khan’s discussions with PM Johnson as well as separate meetings with parliamentarians and four government ministries.

PM Khan’s meeting plans figured during discussion on Sunday when PM Khan’s phone call with PM Johnson was locked for Monday, according to a source privy to the discussions.

Separately, PM Khan and PM Johnson spoke over the phone on Monday afternoon. A 10 Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister spoke to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, this afternoon. The Prime Minister began by expressing his condolences following the tragic loss of life in the train crash in Sindh.

“The leaders discussed the current situation in Afghanistan. They agreed on the need to ensure a long-term future of peace and stability in the country. The Prime Minister reiterated that the UK would continue to use the diplomatic and development tools at our disposal to support the Government of Afghanistan.

“The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Khan also covered the need to take action to cut carbon emissions and protect biodiversity ahead of the UK-hosted COP26 Summit later this year. The Prime Minister congratulated Prime Minister Khan on the success of the UN World Environment Day event, which Pakistan hosted with the UN this weekend.

“The leaders also discussed the shared fight against coronavirus and resolved to work together to defeat the pandemic in our countries and around the world.”

APP adds: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday held a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and exchanged views on the current trajectory of bilateral relations, Afghan peace process, Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.

He thanked the UK Prime Minister for his thoughtful video message for the World Environment Day event held in Islamabad on June 5, 2021. PM Khan expressed the hope that Pakistan and the United Kingdom would be able to forge an even stronger partnership going forward, particularly in the domains of trade and investments, a press release issued by the PM Office said. The two leaders agreed on the importance of high level exchanges between the two countries.

Prime Minister Khan lauded the efforts of Prime Minister Johnson in effectively combating the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. He also briefed his British counterpart on the measures taken by Pakistan to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic while saving lives, securing livelihoods, and stimulating the economy.

PM Khan impressed upon the UK to revisit the decision of placing Pakistan on the Red List of travel ban countries.On Afghanistan, he reiterated Pakistan’s support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. The Prime Minister reiterated his longstanding stance that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, and that a negotiated political solution was the only way forward.

Underscoring the importance of a responsible withdrawal, the Prime Minister apprised his British counterpart of Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to support the Afghan peace process, as part of a shared responsibility.

He apprised Prime Minister Johnson of the progress made by Pakistan to strengthen its AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism) framework.

He urged the members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to recognise Pakistan’s achievements in complying with the FATF’s benchmarks. The two sides agreed to continue to work together to further strengthen relations and advance the common objective of regional and global peace, and stability.