ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has reiterated Pakistan’s willingness to host the 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit in Islamabad at the earliest.
While virtually addressing the meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers on the sidelines of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Qureshi expressed the hope that the artificial obstacles created in its way would be removed and SAARC would be enabled to function as an effective instrument of regional cooperation.
The foreign minister said that being a founding member of SAARC, Pakistan has always attached great importance to this platform and remains committed to the principles and objectives of the SAARC Charter.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Pakistan has always been supportive of the idea of upgrading the Observer Status to Dialogue partners of those Observer Countries that are actively engaged with SAARC Countries and that can play an important role in the development of the region, especially in the context of post-COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery.
The minister also called for a regional approach to meet the common challenges including COVID-19, food insecurity, locust invasion, and climate change.
Highlighting Pakistan’s success against COVID-19, he said that though Pakistan may have controlled the Pandemic within its boundaries, it believes that a regional approach is needed to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives and livelihoods of the people of South Asia.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi also stressed for peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes to achieve development, economic growth, poverty alleviation, and social uplift of the masses.
In this context, he added, that we strongly emphasize the importance of faithfully following the UN Charter and implementing UN Security Council Resolutions.
The foreign minister said that we must condemn, oppose any unilateral and illegal measures to change the status of disputed territories in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions. He said that such unilateral measures run counter to our shared objective of creating a regional environment of amity and cooperation and these must be opposed resolutely.
Qureshi urged the Council members to take cognizance of the systematic human rights violations of the people suffering from long-running disputes and ensure their protection.