ISLAMABAD    -   Pakistan and the European Union (EU) in their fifth round of Strategic Dialogue on Tuesday expressed satisfaction over the implementation of last year’s engagement plan and agreed to further enhance bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

Foreign Minister (FM) Shah Mehmood Qureshi co-chaired the virtual meeting along with High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission (EC) Joseph Borrell.

Qureshi said Pakistan and the EU enjoyed broad-based relations, adding that continuation of high-level contacts in various areas of mutual interest was reflective of their cordial relations.

The meeting discussed the global situation with respect to the coronavirus pandemic and the strategies adopted to deal with its consequences.

Foreign Minister Qureshi mentioned that Pakistan despite its limited resources achieved remarkable results through its smart lockdown strategy in controlling the spread of the virus.

He recalled that the proposal of Prime Minister Imran Khan to support weaker economies during the pandemic through easy loan facility won acknowledgment at the international level.

The foreign minister highlighted the salient features of Ehsaas socio-welfare programme launched to provide financial assistance to the poor, which, he added, produced encouraging results.

In order to reduce the effects of climate change, he said, the government had launched ‘Clean Green Pakistan’ programme.

He conveyed to the EU representative the concern in the Muslim world, including Pakistan, over the growing incidents of Islamophobia in European countries. The meeting also discussed efforts to restore peace and stability in Afghanistan. The two sides agreed that intra-Afghan dialogue was an important milestone for the Afghan peace.

Qureshi highlighted the grave human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and called upon the international community to save Kashmiris from the Indian oppression.

He stressed that the world needed to play its role in resolving the Kashmir issue in accordance with resolutions of UN Security Council.

The virtual discussion focused on sharing assessments of the current situation with respect to COVID-19 pandemic and actions taken by the respective sides to lessen its negative socio-economic impacts.

The EU is a traditional friend of Pakistan and a major trading and investment partner. The relations between the two sides are pursued through regular high-level engagements, robust institutional arrangements and structured dialogues. 

Ahead of the Strategic Dialogue, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service Enrique Mora also held the sixth round of Pakistan-European Political Dialogue to advance bilateral cooperation, on October 6, 2020.