Pakistan, France acknowledge to collectively address terrorism threat

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Pakistan and France have acknowledged the need to work together to address the continuing threat of terrorism and radicalization which had affected both Pakistan and France.

It was acknowledged during 12th round of Pakistan-France bilateral political consultations at the Foreign Secretary level held in Paris.

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry led the Pakistan delegation while the French side was led by Christian Masset, Secretary General of Foreign Affairs, said a press release on Wednesday.

A wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues were discussed during the meeting.

Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry gave an overview of Pakistan’s internal situation including notable achievements by the government to improve law and order, stabilize the economy, and overcome the energy crisis.

He briefed his French counterpart on the significant role played by Operation Zarb-e-Azb in achieving success in the fight against terrorism and the wide ranging National Action Plan to address the root causes of terrorism in the country.

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry emphasized that closer cooperation was required among all countries on the issue of terrorism, since it was a global problem.

He also briefed the French side on Pakistan’s foreign policy priorities, particularly efforts to facilitate an intra-Afghan process of political reconciliation.

France appreciated Pakistan’s positive role in peace efforts in Afghanistan.

Recent developments in the region were also discussed.

The French side highlighted the challenges confronting France and the European Union.

Both sides agreed to work actively to enhance the existing level of bilateral trade of US$ 1.5 billion per annum, which was not commensurate with the size of the two economies.

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The positive role played by the European Union’s GSP Plus facility in promoting trade links was also noted.

The two countries would encourage their respective private sectors to take advantage of the investment opportunities on offer in both countries.

During the talks, both countries also held extensive discussions to strengthen bilateral cooperation in higher education, cultural exchanges, science and technology and defense and security.

It was decided to hold the next round of bilateral political consultations in Islamabad next year.

Besides the consultations, the Foreign Secretary also held meetings with Jacques Audibert, Diplomatic Adviser to the French President and Louis Gaultier, French Secretary General for Defense and National Security.

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