ISLAMABAD: Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Thursday that Italy was prepared to extend cooperation to Pakistan in counter-terrorism efforts because both countries were on the same page in the fight against terrorism.
At a joint press conference with Adviser to Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz at the Foreign Office, Mr Gentiloni said that Italy and Pakistan had a defence agreement in place since 2009 and were exchanging expertise and sharing information about the fight against terrorism.
About the Afghan crisis, he said the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) could pave the way for a political solution of the problem, adding that the exercise required strong commitment by all member countries.
Mr Gentiloni termed his meeting with Mr Aziz very useful and said that bilateral relations were improving.
He said the one-billion-euro trade between the two countries reflected that Italy was one of the 10 main economic partners of Pakistan but emphasised the need for increasing the trade volume.
Mr Aziz said his meeting with the Italian minister was a good opportunity to intensify efforts to enhance bilateral trade.
He said the Pakistan-Italy Economic Commission formed in 2006 with six working groups was taking positive steps, adding that the two sides had also agreed to form a cultural forum.
Mr Gentiloni said his country was interested in close cooperation with Pakistan in diverse fields and expressed satisfaction at the formation of the cultural forum.
Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2016