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The Fifth Round of Annual Bilateral Political Consultations was held in Australia on 11 March 2015. The Pakistan delegation was led by Foreign Secretary of Pakistan H.E. Mr. Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry while the Australian delegation was led by H.E. Mr. Peter Varghese, Secretary Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade.

The two Secretaries reviewed the status of bilateral relations and exchanged views on wide ranging matters including regional and international issues of mutual interest. They also explored ways and means to further deepen the engagement between the two countries. Both sides emphasized the need to have comprehensive economic engagement to add substance to the relationship. It was also agreed to further deepen the two-way political engagement and to give an impetus to the existing bonds of friendship through exchange of high-level delegations including the visit of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to Pakistan.

Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, after the talks, called on Secretary, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Mr. Michael Pezzullo. The meeting was very fruitful. The Australian side expressed its keenness to receive Pakistan delegation for the Joint Working Group on Border Protection meeting, scheduled to be held in Australia. Foreign Secretary Chaudhry emphasized the need to facilitate visas for the Pakistani students and businessmen. It was agreed that on the sidelines of the Joint Working Group, experts could discuss mechanisms to facilitate visas.

The Foreign Secretary also called on Deputy Chief Minister of Australian Capital Territory, Simon Corbell and discussed the possibility of twinning the cities of Canberra and Islamabad.

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, at a meeting organized at the High Commission, interacted with the representatives of Pakistan community based in Canberra and briefed them on the positive developments in Pakistan and urged them to act as a bridge between Australia and Pakistan. He, while appreciating the positive role played by the community, called upon them to promote Pakistan as well as integrate themselves into Australian society as progressive and dynamic citizens.

Tomorrow, the Foreign Secretary would be giving a talk on Pakistan’s foreign policy at Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and will be calling on Australian Secretary for Department of Defence Mr. Dennis Richardson.

11 March, 2015

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