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Imran Khan met with EU High Representative

26 March, 2019

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Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Monday, met with European Union’s (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Frederica Mogherini, with both sides eyeing collaboration for reform agenda for Pakistan.

PM Khan said that Pakistan highly valued its relations with the EU and all its member states. Welcoming the High Representative, he expressed satisfaction on the positive momentum in the ties and hailed the economic block as Pakistan’s major trade and investment partner. The premier took great pride in the appreciation in the bilateral trade in the wake of the GSP-plus scheme. Touching over the current regional situation, Mogherini was informed about Pakistan’s positive role in the Afghan reconciliation process and the normalisation of heightened tensions with India. The prime minister urged the EU to highlight the ongoing violations of human rights being committed in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

Mogherini, also serving as the vice-president of the European Commission, appreciated the handling of post-Pulwama situation by PM Khan.

Upon being briefed about PM Khan’s reform agenda, including good governance, eradication of corruption, rule of law and poverty alleviation, she assured of EU’s support and said that it coincided with the EU’s core principles and values.

EU foreign policy chief is on an official visit to Pakistan and also participated in a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi after a meeting held in Islamabad, on Monday.

Mogherini regarded the rise in Islamophobia as a threat not only for Muslims but for all of European society as it “threatens diversity.” She continued, “The strength of our societies lies in our diversity, and whoever attacks the diversity of our societies attacks the entire society, not just one segment of it.” The chief asserted, “This is why for the European Union, institutions, for me personally, for all our member states, it is a priority to make sure that Islamophobia doesn’t find any place in the European Union.”

She also offered condolences to the bereaved families of the nine Pakistanis killed in the Christchurch terror attacks. Qureshi joined in as she commended New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, for her humane response to the recent Christchurch terror attack.

FM Qureshi was of the view that the Kiwi premier had shown a “different way of dealing with [Islamophobia]” and had told the world “how societies can gel together.”

He expressed great concern over the rising Islamophobia and warned that the EU should also be worried by this disturbing trend as it housed a large Muslim community.

With reference to a recent meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers, he apprised the EU representative about his comprehensive plan to tackle Islamophobia globally.

The meeting had been called to discuss the causes, impacts and the way forward in the wake of the attacks in Christchurch.

As the press conference went underway, Qureshi and Mogherini talked about other issues discussed in their meeting, which included an increase in Pakistan-EU trade. Both officials stressed the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan as Mogherini lauded Pakistan for generously hosting Afghan refugees. She further added that the EU recognised that “it can be difficult.”

Qureshi and Mogherini had met for the fourth round of Strategic Dialogue between Pakistan and the EU in Islamabad, where they agreed to a new Strategic Engagement Plan to build a strong partnership in diverse fields.

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