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Foreign Secretary Mr. Salman Bashir met with Swedish Foreign Minister Mr. Carl Bildt on the sidelines of the 9th ASEM Foreign Minister’s Meeting (ASEM) in Hanoi.

The Foreign Secretary apprised him of Pakistan’s core priorities of ensuring stability and promoting economic development. He noted that Pakistan and Sweden were bound by common interests and were committed to deepening bilateral cooperation in all areas of common interest. Pakistan was also in the process of intensifying its political, trade and economic relations with the European Union. In this context, the first Pakistan- EU Summit in Brussels in June 2009 was of crucial importance.

On Afghanistan, the Foreign Secretary highlighted Pakistan’s efforts to promote peace and stability, Pakistan’s constructive engagement in various bilateral and regional processes, and the importance of the development dimension to give people hope and optimism about the future.

Foreign Minister Bildt stated that Sweden supported Pakistan’s action against militancy and efforts for peace and stability in the region. He stressed the importance of Pakistan’s long-term economic development for both Sweden and the EU.

The Swedish Foreign Minister added that Sweden would — now and during its forthcoming Presidency of the EU — work to strengthen the Pakistan-EU relationship. He agreed with the need for putting greater accent on development in the process of stabilizing Afghanistan.

Both sides agreed to maintain close contact before and during the Swedish presidency of the European Union.

28 May 2009

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