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The 4th Round of Bilateral Political Consultations with Cuba was held at Havana on 23-24 November 2016. Dr. Asad M.Khan, Additional Foreign Secretary,led the Pakistan delegation and was assisted by Ambassador Kamran Shafi and other officials, while the Cuban side was headed by H.E. Mr. Abelardo Moreno Fernandez, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.During his stay in Havana, the Additional Secretary called on H.E. Mr.Marcelino Medina Gonzalez Minister of Foreign Affairs a.i. and also met H.E. Ms. Ileana Nunez Mordoche, Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade and Investment, and H.E. Ms. Marcia Cobas Ruiz, Vice Minister of Health.

During the meetings, the whole range of bilateral issues and key areas of interest to both delegations in the multilateral arena came under discussion. The two sides also availed of the opportunity to exchange views on important global and regional developments and the emerging peace and security scenario in their respective regions. Both sides noted with satisfaction the identity of views on different global and regional issues and expressed satisfaction over the cooperative arrangements that the two countries have at multilateral fora.

While recognising the important gains made in strengthening bilateral cooperation over the last decade, both Pakistan and Cuba acknowledged that the potential for further growth and expansion in bilateral ties was tremendous and should be optimally harnessed. A range of specific proposals for promoting bilateral trade and investment; deepening education, science and technological cooperation in particular in the health and medicine sectors were reviewed. The Cuban side was apprised of Pakistan’s plans to celebrate “Pakistan Cultural Week” in March 2017, which would lay the foundation of bilateral cultural cooperation.

Appreciating Cuba’s invaluable support and humanitarian contributions during the massive 2005 earthquake, Pakistan emphasized and Cuba agreed on the need for greater institutional cooperation in disaster management between the two countries. The Cuban side conveyed its appreciation and gratitude to the Government and the people of Pakistan for the gift of 15000 metric tons of rice. They also welcomed Pakistan’s offer of 100 scholarships for Cuban students for post-graduate studies in Pakistan during the next two years.

The Pakistan side briefed the Cuban side about the serious violations being committed by India across the LOC and the Working Boundary, and the repression it had unleashed in Indian Occupied Kashmir against the unarmed and indigenous uprising of Kashmiris. The Indian escalatory tactics and resort to violence, it was emphasized, was diversionary and politically opportunistic and seriously undermined peace and security in the region. Pakistan’s outreach to Afghanistan, consistent with the Prime Minister’s vision of a peaceful neighborhood and efforts to facilitate peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan were also highlighted.

Both sides expressed their resolve to effectively implement the decisions taken during the annual consultations and noted that the next round would be held in 2017 in Islamabad at a mutually convenient date.

November 25, 2016

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