Pakistan, GCC finalize Joint Action Plan for Strategic Dialogue to deepen cooperation in diverse fields

131, GCC finalize Joint Action Plan

ISLAMABAD, (APP): Pakistan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in line with their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Strategic Dialogue, on Wednesday finalized the Joint Action Plan for Strategic Dialogue (2022-2026).

The Action Plan, which provides an institutional approach to deepen cooperation in various fields including Political; Security; Trade and Investment; Agricultural and Food Security, Transportation; Energy; Environment; Health; Culture; and Education, was finalized during the delegation-level meeting between Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Secretary-General of GCC Dr. Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf here.

During delegation-level talks, the two sides reviewed Pakistan-GCC cooperation in diverse fields and explored new avenues for an enhanced mutually-beneficial partnership, a Foreign Office statement issued here said.

They also exchanged views on the regional developments, in particular, the prevailing humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and the deteriorating human rights situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Fondly recalling the meeting in December 2021, Foreign Minister Qureshi extended a warm welcome to Dr. Al-Hajraf.

He reaffirmed Pakistan’s abiding fraternal and historical ties with the GCC member states, rooted firmly in shared faith, values and culture.

Welcoming the finalization of the Joint Action Plan for Strategic Dialogue, Foreign Minister Qureshi and Secretary General Al-Hajraf underscored that the Action Plan would impart a strong impetus towards optimally realizing the tremendous potential for increased cooperation between Pakistan and the GCC states.

Noting the progress on the ongoing efforts to conclude the Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and the GCC, Foreign Minister Qureshi and Secretary General Al-Hajraf expressed determination to conclude the negotiations on priority.

Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed gratitude to the GCC and its member states for strong expression of support for the people of Afghanistan in the 17thExtraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, held in Islamabad on 19 December 2021.

The Foreign Minister urged the world community to upscale its efforts to reach out to the Afghan people on an urgent basis to help address the humanitarian crisis and stabilize the economic situation.

This is the second visit of the GCC Secretary-General to Pakistan in the last three weeks. He earlier visited Islamabad in December 2021 to attend the 17thExtraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (OIC-CFM) on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

The visit of the Secretary-General has helped further strengthen the positive momentum in Pakistan-GCC relations, which would be instrumental in deepening mutual cooperation across myriad fields, the statement concluded.

Later talking to media persons Foreign Minister Qureshi along with the GCC Secretary-General said that the two sides have agreed to finalize the negotiations for signing the Pakistan-GCC FTA by March 31, 2022.

Qureshi said since Pakistan and GCC were aiming to develop a strategic economic partnership, he briefed the GCC Secretary-General in detail about Pakistan’s policy shift from geo-strategic to geo-economics.

He said there was unanimity of views on the issue of enhanced trade and economic cooperation between Pakistan and GCC.

GCC Secretary-General Dr. Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf said that Pakistan and the GCC countries, which enjoy historic and strategic relations, have commonality on views on international and regional matters.

He said as there existed ample opportunities for cooperation between the two sides, Pakistan and GCC countries can further strengthen their strategic partnership and cooperation in different areas of mutual interest.

The GCC Secretary-General appreciated Pakistan for hosting the extraordinary session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad on December 19, which gave a roadmap to the international community on how they could help address the problems of the Afghan people.

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