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In a meeting with President Mamnoon Hussain, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised Pakistan’s cooperation and support to core UN activities like peacekeeping, which was helping the UN on “daily basis”. The meeting took place yesterday in Shanghai, where both leaders were attending the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia (CICA).

The UN Secretary-General briefed the President on UN peacekeeping operations. He gave an update on current situations in Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sudan (Darfur) and Central African Republic. He hoped that Pakistan would continue to contribute to UN peacekeeping. Pakistan was one of top troop contributors to UN forces. The UN keenly seeks Pakistani troops and police, on account of their high level of commitment and professionalism in the field.

The two leaders discussed the situation in Afghanistan. Underlining the importance of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations, Secretary-General Ban hoped that Pakistan would continue to assist Afghanistan in the future. He supported trans-boundary energy projects linking Pakistan with Central Asia through Afghanistan.

The President termed Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan as important. He recalled his visit to Afghanistan and meeting with President Karzai. The President underscored the importance of early repatriation of Afghan refugees.

The President told the Secretary-General Ban that improving relations with India was part of the government’s desire for a peaceful neighborhood. The Prime Minister of Pakistan had taken a number of initiatives in this regard. Pakistan wanted peaceful settlement of outstanding disputes, including Jammu and Kashmir as well as improved relations with India in political, economic and cultural spheres. The President also underscored the importance of implementing UN Security Council Resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir. Secretary-General Ban welcomed Pakistan’s initiatives and mentioned UNMOGIP in the context of UN’s role in monitoring situation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr. Ban Ki-moon reiterated that UN would continue to support economic and social development of Pakistan.

This was the first meeting of the President with the UN Secretary-General. Secretary-General Ban was in Islamabad on eve of the President’s election to office last August.

Islamabad

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