ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz led Pakistan’s delegation to 12th Foreign Ministers’ session of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) which was held in Luxembourg from November 5 to 6.
The Asia-Europe Meeting is an informal dialogue forum between Asia and Europe, which addresses political, economic and social issues, confronting the two regions, aiming at strengthening their relationship in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.
The Foreign Ministers of these regions discussed the important issues of climate change, 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 emphasized the need to focus attention on enhancing connectivity between Asia and Europe.
Ideas were also expressed on how ASEM could tackle future challenges, while maintaining its unique informal nature.
In the retreat session, the foreign ministers shared views on the current regional and international issues. Mongolia announced to host the next ASEM Summit in July 2016.
In his address on this occasion Sartaj Aziz underscored the significance of Pakistan in providing a vital link between South Asia with Central and West Asia, as well as to Europe.
He highlighted several projects, undertaken by Pakistan in cooperatoin with countries of the region, including inter-alia China Pakistan Economic Corridor, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, CASA-1000, and Torkham-Jalalabad road project.
He urged ASEM members to strengthen connections between Asia and Europe in education, science and technology, trade, business, security, culture, infrastructure, and people-to-people contacts. He expressed the hope that ASEM has a bright future.
Speaking at the retreat 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. He urged the European Union to play a leading role in finding a durable solution to the Palestinian question.
Underscoring the progress made by Pakistan in countering terrorism, he called for tackling the root-causes of terrorism.
On migration crisis in Europe, he also urged the EU to look into the root-causes of migration and address them.
On the margins of ASEM Foreign Ministers meeting, the Adviser held bilateral meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Japan, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, and Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Singapore.
He also interacted with European media, Deutsche Welle and Deutsche Presse-Agentur.