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Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani, Secretary, Ministry of foreign Affairs visited Canberra to participate in the 2nd Session of Pakistan-Australia Bilateral Consultations. Besides that, he held meetings with Hon. Stephen Smith, Minister of Defence, Mr. Peter Baxter, Director General, AusAID and Dr. Margot McCarthy, National Security Adviser.

During his meeting with the Defence Minister, overall Pakistan-Australia Defence Cooperation, which has registered significant growth over the past five years, was reviewed. Australia has become the 2nd largest capacity building provider for Pakistan Armed Forces. Pakistan’s role as front line state in war against terror was deeply appreciated by the Australian side.

During his meeting with Director General AusAID, the Foreign Secretary reviewed the general direction and scope of Australia’s Development Assistance programme for Pakistan, within the framework of Pak-Australia Development Partnership agreement. While thanking the Government of Australia for almost tripling its assistance to Pakistan in the last four years, the Foreign Secretary, underlined the need for allocating more resources for agriculture, rural development and for increasing numbers of Australian scholarships, particularly in the agricultural field. Bothe sides also agreed to enhance AusAID assistance in the field of primary education. It was also agreed that AusAID would consider the training of trainers and teachers from Pakistan.

Foreign Secretary briefed the National Security Adviser and her team on Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to support the Afghan Government in its peace and reconciliation process, Pak-US relations, regional security situation in South Asia and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to fight against extremism and terrorism.

The bilateral consultations between the two countries were held on 14 June. The Australian side was led by Mr. Dennis Richardson, Secretary DFAT. The whole gamut of bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest were discussed in detail. The Secretary DFAT hosted a whole of government luncheon in the honour of Foreign Secretary, which was attended by important and relevant Heads of Australian Government Departments.

The Foreign Secretary was also invited by the Prime Minister of Australia Hon. Julia Gillard for a dinner, which she hosted in the honour of Secretary General (NATO).

14 June 2012

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