EU, Portugal, Romania & Denmark acknowledge Pakistan’s sacrifices & key role in the fight against terrorism
Pakistan has highlighted the multi-faceted challenges facing the world today, saying that the only way to overcome these challenges is to learn from past mistakes, address the root causes of longstanding conflicts like Kashmir and Palestine, and promote the culture of compromise.
Pakistan also pinpointed that despite international efforts to counter terrorism over the past fifteen years, the phenomenon had become more complex and gruesome with home grown terrorists, foreign fighters, ISIL and lone wolf attacks by radicalized youth.
Addressing the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM11) Summit (ASEM) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia today, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz observed that the widespread use of social media by terrorists to spread their message was becoming a major problem.
ASEM is a dialogue process between 53 countries of Asia and Europe to foster cooperation between the two continents in the spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership. This Summit marks the 20th anniversary of ASEM since its establishment in 1996. The theme of the Summit is Twenty Years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity.
Pakistan emphasized the importance of Connectivity which is the theme of the present Summit. The Adviser underscored the various dimensions of Connectivity and in this regard highlighted Pakistan’s role in promoting it in the region and beyond through projects like China Pakistan Economic Corridor, TAPI gas pipeline and CASA 1000 projects.
A large number of prominent leaders from Asia and Europe are attending the Summit, which is chaired by President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj of Mongolia. Nine Heads of State, two Vice Presidents including that of India, twenty-one Heads of Government including Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister Medvedev of Russia and Prime Ministers of Japan, Finland, Thailand, Cambodia and Singapore amongst others are attending the Summit.
Speaking at the Retreat Session of the 11th ASEM Summit, in which a wide range of regional and international issues were discussed by the leaders from Asia and Europe, the Adviser spoke on the defining issue of global terrorism.
The Adviser emphasized that Pakistan, one of the biggest victims of terrorism, has been at the forefront of efforts to counter the menace of terrorism. The complexity of the challenge demands enhanced and shared understanding, and deeper dialogue among countries, cultures and civilizations. He underscored the need for addressing the root causes of terrorism as part of any strategy to counter it and to address the prolonged, unresolved conflicts, like Kashmir and Palestine. Ulaanbaatar Declaration was adopted as an outcome document of the Summit, in which the participating leaders from Asia and Europe renewed their political will and strong resolve to work together to promote mutually beneficial partnership and cooperation between the two continenets, with a view to building a better future for the peoples of Asia and Europe. The leaders and participating delegations attended the nomadic Naadam Festival. On this occasion, the Adviser was presented a horse of native Mongolian breed by the President of Mongolia, which was named ‘Rustam’ by the Adviser. The event was rounded off with a gala dinner hosted by the President of Mongolia, followed by performance of Mongolian culture. On the sidelines of 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM11) Summit, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and Foreign Ministers of Portugal, Romania and Denmark acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices and key role in the fight against terrorism and lauded the successes achieved in counter-terrorism operations.
In their meeting with the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, they also appreciated Pakistan’s sound policies for economic revival and expressed their desire to strengthen trade and investment cooperation with Pakistan.
In his meeting with Mogherini, the Adviser briefed her on the positive developments in Pakistan including successful military operation Zarb-e- Azb, improved performance of economy and reforms in the social sector. They also discussed matters relating to GSP plus concessions, Readmission Agreement between Pakistan and EU, as wells as avenues for future cooperation.
Mogherini lauded Pakistan’s contribution to fight against terrorism and its efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. She expressed hope that Pakistan would continue to play its crucial role in this regard.
In meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Romania, Portugal and Denmark, the Adviser reviewed bilateral relations and exchanged views on important regional and international issues. He stressed that successful outcome of the Zarb-e-Azb military operation had created an enabling environment for economic growth and investments in Pakistan, providing an opportunity for these countries to explore Pakistan’s vast market potential. They agreed to reinvigorate bilateral cooperation with greater focus on expanding trade, education and cultural ties.
The recent unfortunate events in Indian Occupied Kashmir also came under discussion with the Adviser emphasizing the need to respect the human rights of the Kashmiri people. The question of Pakistan’s NSG membership was also taken up by the Adviser with the Foreign Ministers of these countries.
Similarly, Sartaj Aziz alsoy held meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Norway, New Zealand, France, Hungary, Malta and the State Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs of Singapore.
ASEM is a dialogue process between 53 countries of Asia and Europe to foster cooperation between the two continents in the spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership. This Summit marks the 20th anniversary of ASEM since its establishment in 1996. The theme of the Summit was Twenty Years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity.
Besides bilateral relations, the Foreign Ministers exchanged views on a number of important regional and international issues, including Afghanistan, Pakistan-India relations, terrorism and the question of Pakistan’s membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).