ISLAMABAD, JAN 5: /DNA/ – Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi received His Excellency Dr. Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and his delegation at the Foreign Office today. Fondly recalling the meeting in December 2021, Foreign Minister Qureshi extended a warm welcome to Dr. Al-Hajraf. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s abiding fraternal and historical ties with the GCC member states, rooted firmly in shared faith, values and culture. 

During delegation-level talks, the two sides reviewed Pakistan-GCC cooperation in diverse fields, and explored new avenues for an enhanced mutually-beneficial partnership. They also exchanged views on the regional developments, in particular the prevailing humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and the deteriorating human rights situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.  

In line with the MoU on Strategic Dialogue between Pakistan and the GCC, the two sides finalized the Joint Action Plan for Strategic Dialogue (2022-2026), which provides an institutional approach to deepen cooperation in various fields, including Political; Security; Trade and Investment; Agricultural and food security, Transportation; Energy; Environment; Health; Culture; and Education. Welcoming the finalization of the Joint Action Plan for Strategic Dialogue, Foreign Minister Qureshi and Secretary General Al-Hajraf underscored that the Action Plan would impart a strong impetus towards optimally realizing the tremendous potential for increased cooperation between Pakistan and the GCC states.  

Noting the progress on the ongoing efforts to conclude the Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and the GCC, Foreign Minister Qureshi and Secretary General Al-Hajraf expressed determination to conclude the negotiations on priority. Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed gratitude to the GCC and its member states for strong expression of support for the people of Afghanistan in the 17thExtraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, held in Islamabad on 19 December 2021.

The Foreign Minister urged the world community to upscale its efforts to reach out to the Afghan people on an urgent basis to help address the humanitarian crisis and stabilize the economic situation.  This is the second visit of the GCC Secretary General to Pakistan in the last three weeks. He earlier visited Islamabad in December 2021 to attend the 17thExtraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (OIC-CFM) on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. The visit of the Secretary General has helped further strengthen the positive momentum in Pakistan-GCC relations, which would be instrumentalin deepening mutual cooperation across myriad fields.