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The German State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Reinhard Silberberg visited Islamabad on 26 January 2008 to hold bilateral consultations with Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir. He also called on the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

In the extensive bilateral consultations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the two sides reviewed the entire gamut of relations and ways and means to strengthen these further. Both sides expressed their resolve to cement bilateral consultations in diverse fields – political, economic, commercial, cultural and defence. It was also agreed to hold regular Political and Strategic Consultations at the level of Foreign Secretary.

The Pakistan side made a case for greater market access for Pakistani products in the EU in order to sustain Pakistan’s growth and tackle extremism. The State Secretary conveyed German support.

Among the other issues discussed included the Friends of Democratic Pakistan, the fight against extremism and terrorism and regional development, peace and security. The State Secretary appreciated Pakistan Government’s multi-pronged strategy in the fight against terrorism and extremism and its efforts to bring about peace and security in Afghanistan. He also appreciated Pakistan’s positive approach and offer of cooperation to India in the aftermath of the Mumbai incident and expressed hope that the two countries would be able to resolve their differences in an atmosphere of amity and trust.

During the call on the Foreign Minister, Mr. Silberberg expressed the German leadership’s desire to deepen its longstanding relations with Pakistan, which it views as an important regional country and that Germany saw its relations with Pakistan on their own. The Foreign Minister conveyed greetings to the German Foreign Minister Mr. Steinmeier and expressed keen resolve of the democratic government to establish a broad-based and sustainable relationship with Germany.

The visit is taking place at a time when relations between the two countries have strengthened recently. The State Secretary’s visit follows that of the German Foreign Minister, which took place in October 2008. During the German Foreign Minister’s visit, a roadmap to comprehensively up-grade bilateral relations between the two countries was discussed.

Germanyis, presently, the largest trading partner of Pakistan in the EU with US $ 2.388 billion trade in 2008. Germany is actively involved in Pakistan’s socio-economic development and is an active member of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan Forum.

26 January 2009

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