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The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, received the EU Commissioner for Development, Mr. Andris Piebalgs today and discussed a whole range of issues, especially Pakistan – EU relations.

Welcoming the Development Commissioner, the Minister of State appreciated EU support to the democratic process in Pakistan. She also conveyed Pakistan’s gratitude for humanitarian assistance received from the EU following the devastating floods in Pakistan last year.

Apprising the Development Commissioner about Government’s efforts aimed at brining about macro-economic stability in the country, the Minister of State underscored that Pakistan had been facing multiple challenges. Terrorism had afflicted massive losses to the national economy. It was, therefore, important on the part of our friends around the world, especially the European Union, to extend to Pakistan their all-out support. In this regard, she appreciated the EU‘s concessional package for Pakistan which was now awaiting clearance by the WTO. The Minister of State also expressed the hope that Pakistan would be able to qualify for the GSP plus scheme next year, adding that the democratic Government of Pakistan had been placing more emphasis on trade with, than aid from, its friendly countries.

Ms. Khar also underlined that the EU-Pakistan Summit mechanism should be institutionalized. In this regard, she mentioned Pakistan’s proposal for convening the next summit this year on mutually convenient dates.

The two sides also discussed the proposed Pakistan-EU 5 Year Engagement Plan. It was stressed that the plan, as was decided during the 2nd Pakistan-EU Summit, should be finalized at the earliest.

The Minister of State, in response to questions, also briefed the Development Commissioner about Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan. She said that the two countries had been working together to promote reconciliation in Afghanistan, emphasizing that Pakistan was fully committed to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process in Afghanistan.

Briefing the Development Commissioner on Pakistan-India relations, the Minister of State said that Pakistan was of the view that normalization of relations between the two countries was imperative for development and prosperity in South Asia. She hoped that the dialogue process underway would yield concrete results.

The EU Development Commissioner assured the Minister of State that the EU would continue extending support to the socio-economic agenda of the Government of Pakistan. He stated that the EU attached immense importance to its engagement with Pakistan, and hoped that this would further strengthen to our mutual benefit.

16 June 2011

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