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Madrid – 02 June 2016 – The third round of Pakistan-Spain Annual Bilateral Consultations was held at Madrid on 02 June 2016. Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry led the Pakistan delegation while the Spanish side was led by Ignacio Ybanez Rubio, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

Discussions were held on the entire gamut of bilateral relations including trade and investment, economy, culture, defence and security.

The Foreign Secretary gave an overview of achievements of the present Government in improving law and order situation, strengthening institutions and economic revival. He highlighted the successes in Operation Zarb-e-Azb and the implementation of National Action Plan to defeat terrorism and extremism from the country. The Spanish side appreciated Pakistan’s significant gains achieved in this regard. It shared views on the challenges confronting the European Union in general and Spain in particular.

Both sides expressed satisfaction at the increased level of bilateral trade, which crossed Euro 1 billion mark in 2015, doubling Pakistan’s exports to Spain in the last three years, i.e. from Euro 379 million in 2012 to Euro 746 million in 2015.

The Foreign Secretary briefed the Spanish side on investment opportunities in Pakistan and invited Spanish companies to invest in the country. The Spanish side conveyed that, following economic revival in Spain, the Spanish investors are investing overseas and they are showing a keen interest in Pakistan.

The Spanish government praised the role and positive contribution of the Pakistani community in Spain. The two sides also agreed to continue cooperation on consular matters as well as ways to expand people to people contacts through educational and cultural exchanges.

On the regional situation, the Foreign Secretary gave a detailed assessment of Pakistan’s efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan. The situation in South Asia and the Middle East also came under discussion. The Spanish side acknowledged the important role being played by Pakistan in promoting peace efforts in the region.

The Foreign Secretary highlighted Pakistan’s strong credentials for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and underlined the need for a criteria-based and non-discriminatory approach to be adopted for NSG expansion. The Spanish side expressed an understanding of Pakistan’s position on this issue.

Pakistan and Spain also agreed to continue close cooperation at multilateral fora, especially on UN Security Council reforms, where both sides share a convergence of views.

Annual Bilateral Consultations between Pakistan and Spain have helped strengthen relations between the two countries. The next round of consultations will be held in Islamabad next year.

02 June 2016.

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