Aziz spoke of Pakistan’s significance as he led the Pakistan delegation at the 12th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) that took place in Luxembourg on November 5-6.
In his address, Aziz highlighted several projects undertaken by Pakistan in cooperation with regional states. He referred to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, the CASA-1000 and the Torkham-Jalalabad road project.
Aziz urged ASEM members to strengthen connections between Asia and Europe in the fields of education, science and technology, trade, business, security, culture and infrastructure sectors as well as people-to-people contacts.
Speaking at the session, the adviser apprised the meeting of Pakistan’s perspective on important regional and international issues.
He stressed the importance of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process in Afghanistan and also urged the European Union to play a leading role in finding a durable solution to the Palestinian issue.
Underscoring the progress made by Pakistan in countering terrorism, he called for tackling the root causes of the scourge.
Aziz also briefed EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini on positive developments in Pakistan during the past two years. Among these, he referred to the “continuing strengthening of the democratic process”, economic revival and decisive action against terrorism.
The two sides agreed that these developments will improve opportunities for trade and investment in Pakistan. The current level of trade between Pakistan and Europe has crossed $11 billion, especially after Pakistan was granted GSP+ status which has been effective since January 2014.
Mogherini mentioned that a review of GSP+ in the first two years will be conducted in the beginning of 2016 and emphasised the importance of adequate implementation of the requirements for the status, especially adherence to the 27 UN Conventions on Human Rights, labour standards and climate change.
Aziz also apprised Mogherini on efforts being made to pursue Pakistan’s policy of a peaceful neighbourhood, improved regional connectivity and Islamabad’s efforts to improve relations with India through sustained dialogue.
Mogherini accepted the adviser’s invitation to visit Pakistan in early 2016 for the 3rd Strategic Dialogue between Pakistan and EU.
On the margins of the ASEM Foreign Ministers meeting, Aziz held bilateral meetings with the foreign ministers of Japan, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Netherlands and Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Singapore.
ASEM is an informal dialogue forum between Asia and Europe, which addresses political, economic and social issues confronting the two regions, aiming to strengthening their relationship in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.
During the course of the meeting, the foreign ministers discussed climate change, the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and management, connectivity and the future of ASEM.
The participants appreciated the ongoing efforts to tackle climate change and disaster management and emphasised the need to focus on enhancing connectivity between Asia and Europe.
Ideas were also exchanged on how ASEM could tackle future challenges while maintaining its unique informal nature.
Mongolia announced it would host the next ASEM Summit in July 2016.
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The 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
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