British Secretary of State for International Development calls on President Zardari
Islamabad: Mr. Andrew Mitchell, British Secretary of State for International Development called on President Asif Ali Zardari at Aiwan-e-Sadr today.
Senator Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Finance, Mr. M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Senator Syeda Sughra Imam, Ms Farahnaz Ispahani, MNA, Mr. Salman Bashir, Foreign Secretary, Mr. Abdul Wajid Rana, Secretary Economic Affairs Division and Spokesperson to the President Mr. Farhatullah Babar were also present during the meeting.
British secretary of state was accompanied by Mr. Adam Thomson, British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Mr. Moazzam Malik, DFID Director for Western Asia and Stabilization Unit, Mr. George Turkington, Head DFID Pakistan and Mr. Richard Parr, Special Advisor to Secretary of state.
Pak-UK bilateral relations, strategic dialogue, regional situation, trade access to EU markets for Pakistan’s goods, collaboration between the two countries in the fields of trade and investment and education came under discussion during the meeting.
The President said that the Pak- UK strategic dialogue encompassing important aspects of our relations was a significant step and was vital for Pakistan. He stressed the need that the two sides should step up efforts to achieve the real objectives of Enhanced Strategic Dialogue adding that the mechanism would lead to creating a better understanding in bringing about clarity on issues of global, regional peace and security. Pakistan wants to have an in depth engagement with the UK on various issues, based on sovereign equality, mutual trust and respect and mutual interest. The President emphasized access to markets saying that Pakistan looked for trade instead of aid.
The President welcomed British assistance in education sector and the role and contribution of DFID (Department for International Development) in this regard through various initiatives like the proposed Education Fund for Sindh and its close association with the Pakistan Education Task Force. The President said that he particularly welcomed the enhanced British assistance in Pakistan’s education sector and described it as crucial for neutralizing militant mindset and for social and human uplift.
The President said that the Government and the people of Pakistan appreciate British acknowledgement of Pak counter terrorism efforts and its contributions through funding and capacity building. He said that Britain and Pakistan needed to work more closely to further strengthen their partnership in diverse areas mainly in trade, investment and education with a view to curb militancy and terrorism from Pakistan on one hand and promote peace and security of the region and the world on the other.
The President appreciated UK’s Government continued support to the democratic dispensation in Pakistan in overcoming the various critical economic and other challenges faced by it. He emphasized on further cementing institutional contacts and strategic and cooperative ties between the two countries.
Mr. Andrew Mitchell, British Secretary of State for International Development said that his government would continue to extend all possible support in promoting educational facilities in Pakistan besides employment generation and poverty eradication in various areas of Pakistan. He also assured continued support of the British government to Pakistan’s efforts in fight against militancy and terrorism and to meet the critical economic challenges facing the country.
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