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Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar led the Pakistan delegation to the first Ministerial Meeting of the Pakistan-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), held at Abu Dhabi today, March 8, 2011.

The Ministerial meeting was chaired by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the UAE. UAE is the current chair of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). All GCC member States participated in the meeting.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah of UAE and Minister of State, Hina Rabbani Khar, signed an MOU launching the Pakistan-GCC Strategic Dialogue. The MOU provides the institutional framework for this Dialogue.

Addressing the meeting, Minister of State Hina Rabbani Khar underscored the “immense potential of mutually beneficial partnership” between the GCC and Pakistan. She added that further strengthening Pakistan-GCC relations will remain “a cardinal principle of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy”.

Ms. Khar stressed on the Islamic/Arab collective strength. She added that the GCC-Pakistan institutional relationship will provide new impetus towards optimizing and realizing the “tremendous potential that our geographic proximity, solidarity and economic complementarity confer on us”. She called for early finalization of the Pakistan-GCC free trade agreement.

Minister of State requested GCC countries to continue to support flood affectees by contributing to Pakistan’s Citizen Compensation Fund.

UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs welcomed the commencement of Pakistan-GCC Strategic Dialogue, adding that Pakistan has always been an important ally for the GCC. The Kuwaiti Foreign Minister said that Pakistan had “immense potential”. Pakistan is “a force of moderation in the Muslim Ummah” and is a “highly advanced scientific country”. He added that they looked to Pakistan to play an important role in the development of science and technology in Gulf countries. The Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister termed Pakistan’s relations with GCC countries “historical” and “strong”. He added that the GCC-Pakistan MOU will be a milestone in strengthening relations between Pakistan and Gulf region.

The successful launching of the GCC-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue augurs well for the region and for Pakistan’s relations with GCC countries.

08 March, 2011

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