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Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif met Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi today on the sidelines of the 70th UNGA Session in New York.

The two sides exchanged views on a wide range of issues. Expressing warmth towards Pakistan, the Italian Prime Minister termed Pakistan as a “friend, not partner.” Both leaders expressed satisfaction at the cordiality in bilateral relations.The two sides inked a Strategic Engagement Plan in 2013 to enhance and promote bilateral cooperation.

The Prime Minister shared his Government’s domestic priorities that have resulted in an improved security situation and revival of the economy.

Cooperation in trade and investment was deemed to be mutually beneficial for both countries. The Prime Minister invited Italian companies to explore business opportunities in Pakistan.Both leaders agreed that an Italian trade mission may visit Pakistan in this regard. The Prime Minister welcomed and accepted the offer. observed that several Italian companies had major investments in Pakistan. He invited more Italian investors to invest in the country, especially in the energy sector. Italy is Pakistan’s third largest trading partner in the EU with a bilateral trade volume of around US 1.2 billion.

The Prime Minister and Mr. Renzi alsoagreed to step upcooperation atmultilateral fora, particularly the United Nations as well as the European Union (EU). Pakistan and Italy are key members of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group and closely coordinate their positions on UN reform, particularly on expansion of the UN Security Council. Pakistan and Italy have maintained active cooperation on candidature-related matters in the UN. Both leaders agreed that this cooperation needed to be further strengthened.

Prime Minister Renzi praised the Pakistani diaspora living in Italy as an integrated and model community.

The security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s relations with India were also discussed.Prime Minister Renzi appreciated Pakistan as an important member of the international community which could play a significant role in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan and the region.

New York
September 29, 2015

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