Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood held a video conference with Spanish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ms. Cristina Gallach on 7 July 2020. The exchange of views covered a broad range of subjects including response to Covid-19 pandemic, bilateral relations, close cooperation in multilateral fora, and regional situation.

The Foreign Secretary extended condolences over the loss of precious lives in Spain due to Covid-19 and commended Spain’s efforts to contain the virus and steps to revive the economy. He briefed his Spanish counterpart on the measures being taken by the government of Pakistan, with central focus on saving lives, securing livelihoods, and stimulating the economy.

 The two sides exchanged views about the socio-economic effects of the Pandemic. The Foreign Secretary apprised his Spanish counterpart of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s domestic stimulus package as well as his call for “Global Initiative on Debt Relief” for developing countries. The Foreign Secretary expressed appreciation for Spain’s support for the initiative both in EU and G20.

The Foreign Secretary highlighted Pakistan’s concern on temporary suspension of PIA flights into EU as follow up to EASA’s recent decision and called for its review. He underlined that all necessary steps were being taken by the government to ensure the highest level of flight safety in PIA operations. PIA remained committed to maintaining the highest standards and quality in its operations.

The two sides also discussed bilateral trade and economic ties. The Foreign Secretary conveyed appreciation for Spain’s support for GSP Plus for Pakistan and also underlined the hope that concerted efforts would be made to safeguard Pakistan-Spain bilateral trade against the challenges posed by Covid-19 in the shortest possible time.

The Foreign Secretary shared Pakistan’s perspective on the grave human rights and humanitarian situation in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K), moves to change demographic structure of occupied territory in violation of international law, and threat to peace and security in the face of intensified ceasefire violations on the LoC and belligerent actions from the Indian side. He stressed the importance of international community’s role in preventing escalation of tensions and facilitating peaceful resolution of Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with UNSC resolutions.

The two sides reviewed the situation in Afghanistan and progress in the Afghan peace process. The Foreign Secretary highlighted Pakistan’s positive contribution to the U.S.-Taliban direct talks culminating in the Peace Agreement of 29 February 2020. He stressed that the Afghan leadership must seize this historic opportunity and work together through intra-Afghan negotiations to achieve a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement. He reaffirmed that Pakistan would continue to support Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process as part of a shared responsibility for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The two sides agreed to further increase the frequency of bilateral political exchanges at various levels. It was agreed to hold the next round of Pakistan-Spain Annual Bilateral Consultations (ABC) as the Covid-19 situation eases.

 

Islamabad

8 July 2020

290/2020
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