FO Hina meets with Belgian FM and EU Trade Commissioner

Islamabad: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar held a bilateral meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Belgium, Mr. Didier Reynders in Brussels on Tuesday.

Appreciating Belgium’s consistent support for grant of Autonomous Trade Preferences to Pakistan and its humanitarian assistance during the floods in Pakistan in 2010, Foreign Minister Khar underlined the need to institutionalize arrangement for further consolidation of bilateral relations.

Also noting the enormous potential existing between the two countries in the areas of investment and trade, she proposed to reinvigorate the mechanism of Joint Commission and encourage close contacts between the private sectors.

Foreign Minister Khar also briefed her Belgian counterpart on the situation in Afghanistan and the successful visit of the Afghan High Peace Council to Pakistan.

She said that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was essential for the peace and stability of Pakistan, and that the latter was willing to do anything within its capacity to facilitate an Afghan led and Afghan owned process.

She also briefed the Belgian Foreign Minister about the pathbreaking legislation introduced by the democratic Government of Pakistan to protect the vulnerable groups of society including women, children and minorities.

The Belgian Foreign Minister appreciated the role Pakistan was playing for the peace and stability of the region, particularly in Afghanistan. He assured Belgium’s full support for Pakistan inclusion in the new GSP+ Scheme helping Pakistan face the many challenges it was confronted with. He also emphasized enhancing regular contacts between the two countries at all levels.

Later, the Foreign Minister also had a meeting with EU Trade Commissioner Mr. Karel De Gucht and discussed with him the way forward for Pakistan to qualify for the GSP+ Scheme, which would become effective from January 2014.

She also thanked the Commissioner for his role in facilitating the grant of Autonomous Trade Preferences to Pakistan that symbolized the good working relationship that Pakistan enjoyed with the EU.

She hoped that while considering Pakistan’s request for the GSP+ Scheme, the EU would take a constructive view of the sincere efforts Pakistan was making to comply with the requirements of the GSP+ application process. Both sides decided to work in close coordination to successfully process Pakistan’s application for the Scheme.

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