EU, Pakistan agree on new strategic engagement plan

Islamabad Pakistan and the European Union agreed to a new Strategic Engagement Plan for building a sturdy partnership in the fields of defense, trade, democracy, governance and human rights.

The agreement to this effect was reached during the 4th session of the EU-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue held in Islamabad on Monday.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi led the Pakistani side, while the EU side was headed by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

At a joint press conference with Mogherini, Qureshi said the framework of new EU Engagement Plan and the agenda of the Pakistani government were too much similar, especially in terms of human investment and economy.

The foreign minister said he informed the EU delegation about Pakistan's stance on engaging India in dialogue as it was the only way forward. We have always demonstrated restraint to avoid escalation between two nuclear powers.

He pointed out that both the sides were convinced that the solution lay in the dialogue process only.

For her part, Mogherini said the current round of dialogue was an exception as the new strategic partnership plan would lay a strong foundation for the EU-Pakistan partnership to boost their economic cooperation in the days to come. She said trade with Pakistan had doubled in the last few years as Pakistani companies were enjoying great market access in the EU countries.

The EU representative appreciated Pakistan's stance on de-escalating tensions with India and crackdown by the Pakistani security forces on terrorists. She added that the EU also appreciated Pakistan's generosity towards the Afghan refugees as it was a great challenge to host such a huge number of refugees.

Source: International Islamic News Agency