Pakistan, Britain discuss ways to expand mutual cooperation



ISLAMABAD, SEPT 9 – Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood held a video call with the British Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, Lord Tariq Ahmad, on 8 September 2020.

Views were exchanged on matters relating to bilateral cooperation, regional situation, and multilateral issues including climate change and Commonwealth.

Pakistan and the UK enjoy close friendly ties, based on historic linkages and shared perceptions on a broad range of regional and international issues. The two sides discussed ways to further advance the mutual cooperation.

Bilaterally, the importance of frequent high-level exchanges, a closer trade and economic partnership, and stronger role of the diaspora in forging a robust bilateral relationship was emphasized. The two sides also appreciated their close collaboration that resulted in timely repatriation of stranded nationals due to Covid-19.

In the regional context, the Foreign Secretary shared Pakistan’s perspective on Afghanistan — reiterating Pakistan’s steadfast support for the Afghan peace process and underlining the need for the earliest commencement of Intra-Afghan Negotiations. He also underscored the importance of an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.

The Foreign Secretary also highlighted the grave situation in IIOJK, marked by egregious violations of human rights, illegal measures to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory, and threat to peace and security posed by intensified ceasefire violations and India’s belligerent actions. The Foreign Secretary underlined the need for the international community to play its part in defusion of tensions and peaceful resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute.

The Foreign Secretary reiterated the invitation to the British Minister of State to visit Pakistan at the earliest opportunity. The two sides agreed to continue to work together to strengthen bilateral cooperation in all areas of common interest.