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A Reception was hosted by the Foreign Secretary Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to commemorate Pakistan’s close and cordial relations with Africa. The function was attended by members of diplomatic corps, Honorary Consuls, academia, senior government officials, media representatives and prominent personalities.

The Advisor to the Prime Minister for National Security and Foreign Affairs Mr. Sartaj Aziz in his remarks at the reception while highlighting the potential for further strengthening relations with Africa, stated that the Prime Minister was keen to fortify trade and commercial ties with all the regions of the world, particularly with Africa. He added that Pakistan wishes to further enhance its relations with this continent ,recalling the important role Pakistan has played in the decolonization of these countries and maintenance of peace through contribution to the UN peace keeping operations. Now it was the propitious moment to translate this political goodwill into tangible trade and commercial relations.

The Foreign Secretary in his welcome remarks stated that strengthening ties with the African countries is in accordance with the vision of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He elaborated that the basic objective of today’s event was to give a clear message to Africa that “Pakistan is looking Africa”. The Government of Pakistan under the guidance of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accords great importance to its relations with Africa, a continent with which we have deep rooted historic and cultural ties. He expressed the hope that the existing cordial relations will be further strengthened in the years ahead.

In this context a Seminar was also organized by the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on “Pakistan – Africa Relations: Potential and Challenges”. The panelists included Foreign Secretary, Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, the Dean of the Group of African Ambassadors, H.E. Dr. Ahmed Benflis, former Secretary General Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr. Akram Zaki, Chairman, Institute of Strategic Studies Ambassador ® Khalid Mahmood, Director General, ISSI Dr. Rasool Baksh Rais and Dr. Rukhsana Siddiqui. It was a well attended seminar in which Pakistan’s relations with Africa were highlighted in the historical and cultural context and emphasis was laid on converting challenges into opportunities for the mutually beneficial relations with this continent.

A similar event will be organized in Lahore by the Chambers of Commerce and Industries to emphasize Pakistan’s interest in enhancing trade with Africa which is the second largest continent with a population of around 1 billion and GDP of US$2.20 trillion.

The Ambassadors of the African countries based in Islamabad deeply appreciated the initiatives of the Government to organize these events and acknowledged this important message from Pakistan to Africa.

Islamabad.
23 May 2014

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