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Foreign policy to boost economic cooperation: Abdul Basit

14 October, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary-designate Abdul Basit said that after his assuming office and with the coordination of all the stakeholders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would devise a foreign policy which could help promote economic cooperation at the international level.

He said that Pakistan's diplomatic missions abroad would be mobilised for bringing in foreign investment to generate more economic activity in the country. In an interview with state-run radio, he informally threw light on foreign policy challenges. He said trade and investment conferences would be organised in diplomatic missions to increase the country's exports.

He pledged to implement the vibrant foreign policy agenda of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with focus on creating linkages in the region and encouraging economic and public diplomacy.He said that the Afghan reconciliation process was a key to success for Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said Pakistan was making sincere efforts to help settle the Afghan issue. He said recent developments in this regard, including the release of Mulla Baradar, reflected Pakistan's earnest approach towards the resolution of the Afghan conflict.

Basit said Pakistan was closely observing the upcoming presidential elections in Afghanistan and hoped it would boost the reconciliation process. Pakistan would continue to play the facilitator's role in the reconciliation process with the non-interference policy being the key element of the country's policy.

He said the Foreign Office would establish a close liaison with the National Security Directorate‚ which would also help in resolving the country's security challenges.Abdul Basit said, "Unfortunately, South Asia is the only region in the world where economic coordination lacks." He pledged to focus on improving economic coordination among South Asian countries to ensure the development and prosperity of the region.

He said Pakistan wished further expansion of its ties with all the neighbours in all sectors to strengthen Pakistan's economic bonds.Lamenting the dismal volume of trade between Pakistan and India‚ he said both the countries needed to enhance bilateral trade and tap the investment areas.

The foreign secretary-designate said, "Pakistan is a member of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) which links South Asia with the Central Asian states, and Pakistan can play a pivotal role in creating bonds between the two organisations."

End.

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