ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell on Wednesday.
During the conversation, Qureshi conveyed concern on the temporary suspension of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flights into Europe by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The foreign minister underlined that the steps being taken by the government were to ensure the highest level of flight safety in PIA operations and that the national airlines remained committed to maintaining the highest standards and quality in its air operations.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi stressed the need for a review of the EASA decision.
Both foreign minister and EU high representative exchanged views on a range of subjects related to Pakistan-EU partnership-including trade, the next phase of GSP Plus, and early operationalization of the Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP).
Shah Mahmood Qureshi suggested that the two sides may also engage in a structured dialogue on migration-related matters while providing opportunities for skilled human resources from Pakistan.
The foreign minister apprised his EU Counterpart on the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K), and the latest moves by the Indian government to perpetuate its illegal occupation. He stressed the need for urgent steps to address the grave situation.
In the regional context, Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process and highlighted Pakistan’s positive contribution towards that end.
The minister said that peace in Afghanistan was vital for regional peace, stability, and prosperity.
The foreign minister assured his EU Counterpart that Pakistan would continue to facilitate the peace process as a shared responsibility.
The EU high representative condoled with the foreign minister on the loss of precious lives in the terrorist attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in Karachi.
Thanking the EU high representative, the foreign minister underlined Pakistan’s concerns about externally-sponsored terrorism against Pakistan and India’s material support to terrorist outfits targeting Pakistan.
Furthermore, he offered condolences on the loss of precious lives in Europe due to COVID-19 and acknowledged the efforts of the European Commission to come up with a coordinated strategy to deal with the pandemic.
Qureshi delineated the steps taken by the government of Pakistan to save lives, secure livelihoods, and stimulate the economy. He thanked the European Union for its support to Pakistan in its endeavors to tackle COVID-19.
The foreign minister conveyed the desire to expand cooperation between Pakistan and the EU in post-COVID-19 and expressed the hope that Pakistani nationals will not be subjected to any restrictions or discrimination as and when travel restrictions are relaxed by the European Union.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi invited the EU high representative to visit Pakistan once the Coronavirus pandemic subsides, which he accepted with pleasure.
Josep Borrell said that he also looked forward to welcoming the Foreign Minister in Brussels in the near future.