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Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi participated in a high-level panel discussion on ‘Regional Cooperation in Asia’ along with the Foreign Ministers of Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in Antalya Diplomacy Forum on 19 June 2021.

Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted the challenges being faced by Asia in form of unresolved disputes, tensions induced from within and without, renewed arms race, containment policies, unilateralism, poverty, COVID-19 and climate change.

The Foreign Minister called for a renewed focus by Asian countries on geo-economics and underlined the three pillars of Pakistan’s policy: regional connectivity, development partnerships, and peace and prosperity.

Highlighting the potential of Asia in the 21st Century, Foreign Minister Qureshi drew attention to the possibilities of cooperation that existed on the continent. He emphasized that connectivity and greater regional integration in form of trade and investment would pave the way for a successful Asian century. In this context, he noted that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as a flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative, offered great opportunities for the countries of the region.

Foreign Minister Qureshi stressed the need for promotion of a rules-based global order. In his remarks, he also laid out five steps to promote greater regional cooperation in Asia:

– Focus on sustainable development;
– Focus on poverty alleviation;
– Engagement with the international community and international financial institutions for debt relief     for developing countries in Asia in order to provide them with fiscal space to deal with the challenges;
– Arresting illicit financial flows out of Asia gained from proceeds of crime and corruption;
– Tackling climate change.

During the discussion, the Foreign Ministers on the panel called for increased multilateralism to deal with the challenges faced by Asia and agreed on the need for a renewed focus on transit and connectivity projects in the region.

Foreign Minister Qureshi is on an official visit to Turkey to participate in the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, where several global political leaders, and diplomats have gathered for discussions on important thematic global issues. The theme of the Forum is ‘Innovative Diplomacy: New Era, New Approaches’.

19 June 2021

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