Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has expressed his satisfaction that the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue between Pakistan and UK has been launched during Prime Minister’s Cameron’s visit to Islamabad last month. He nevertheless called for early progress in the agreed fields under the dialogue framework through institutionalization of cooperation by utilizing the existing fora of bilateral consultation.
The Prime Minister was talking to Mr Alistair Burt MP, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister and Mr Simson Fraser UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Permanent Under Secretary who called on him at the PM’s House here this afternoon.
The Prime Minister noted with appreciation UK Government and its civil society’s assistance to Pakistan in the aftermath of earthquake of 2005 and last year’s floods as well as for the rehabilitation of IDPs of Malakand and Swat. He hoped that the Government of UK would remain engaged with Pakistan in the rehabilitation and reconstruction phases in the flood affected areas. He also expressed his government’s gratitude for UK’s enhanced economic assistance to Pakistan particularly for its education sector which would enable his government to arrange schooling of four million more children.
Referring to his conversation over phone with the Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday and two weeks earlier, the Prime Minister underlined the importance of contacts at the highest level and regular exchange of visits in order for the two countries to be on the same page on the matters relating to bilateral ties as well as on important issues like war against terror, peace and stability in Afghanistan and regional situation.
The Prime Minister reiterated his government’s commitment and resolve to steadfastly pursue its campaign against terrorism and to support an Afghan owned and Afghan led peace and reintegration process for restoration of peace in Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister stated that his government was determined to follow through with the economic reforms to ensure the macroeconomic stability in the country. He, however, underlined the need for the world’s recognition of negative impact of war against terror on Pakistan’s economy and hoped that the international community would deliver on its pledges to help Pakistan overcome its present difficulties.
Mr Alistair Burt MP, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister stated that UK had always been appreciative of Pakistan’s crucial role and had full recognition of its un matched human and economic sacrifices in the war against terror. UK was also sensitive towards the sentiments of the people in Pakistan in the aftermath of Osama Bin Laden’s killing, he added. He assured the Prime Minister that UK would continue using its influence with the allied countries on the imperative of positive messaging about Pakistan at this critical moment.
While acknowledging the fact that the success in war against terror and restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan could not be achieved without Pakistan’s pivotal role, he said that UK would steadfastly standby Pakistan and build consensus among the allies for extending complete support to Pakistan in the war against terror. He also assured the Prime Minister of his government’s determination to build upon and expand bilateral relations in trade, economic, defence, education, health and cultural fields as well as to advocate Pakistan’s causes in the European Union.
Minister for Defence Ch Ahmad Mukhtar, Minister for Interior Senator A Rehman Malik, Senator Syeda Sughra Imam, Secretaries Foreign Affairs, Defence, Interior and other senior officers were also present in the meeting.
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