Franco-German Day observed

German Ambassador Martin Kobler speaks during the Franco-German Day celebrations at the National Press Club in Islamabad. French Ambassador Dr Marc Barety is also present.
German Ambassador Martin Kobler speaks during the Franco-German Day celebrations at the National Press Club in Islamabad. French Ambassador Dr Marc Barety is also present.

French Ambassador Dr Marc Barety and German Ambassador Martin Kobler celebrated Franco-German Day at the National Press Club. The day commemorates the anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, which was signed between Germany and France on Jan 22, 1963 and formed a basis for reconciliation between the two countries.

The French ambassador said: “Every year we celebrate the Élysée Treaty which was signed to achieve friendship between France and Germany and this is the cornerstone of our relationship. Today, we have another reason to celebrate and that is the signing of a new treaty in Germany this afternoon, the Treaty of Aachen, which will build on what has been achieved so far.”

He went on to discuss the significance of the new treaty within the two countries as France and Germany move from reconciliation to convergence and for the EU as it goes through a difficult time because of emerging nationalism and Brexit.

The German envoy said: “The old treaty concentrated on reconciliation which was necessary after the period of hatred. After the end of World War II the leadership said never again and the answer was the European Economic Union and the Franco-German reconciliation.”

He shared his own experiences growing up in South Germany in a French-occupied zone and spoke of the regular exchanges and visits between groups and clubs of the youth that he benefitted from.

He said: “My children now take this for granted and the idea of reconciliation is a thing of the past. Nevertheless, peace and integration of Europe must be fought for and German-French relations must be made fit to face the challenges of the 21st century.”

Thai Armed Forces Day observed

Wives of defence attachés attend the Royal Thai Armed Forces Day in Islamabad.
Wives of defence attachés attend the Royal Thai Armed Forces Day in Islamabad.

Thailand’s defence and military attaché, Col Satja Raktiprakorn and his wife hosted a reception to observe the Royal Thai Armed Forces Day at Marriot. The chief guest on the occasion was Air Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi, deputy chief of air staff (training). Thailand’s ambassador, Pornpop Uampidhaya also attended the event.

A short video was also screened about Thailand’s military and peace operations which include hosting refugees and other humanitarian assistance in the region.

There were several photo sessions as well, the first for the military and other dignitaries of Asean countries and others to include other representatives. At the end, there was a special session for the wives of military attaches.

A guest asked if there were only male military attaches in Pakistan. He asked some American women who said they were not aware of women on such posts yet. The buffet dinner included authentic Thai cuisine and a variety of dishes.

Portugal’s charge d’affaires bids farewell

Guests at a farewell luncheon held for Portugal’s charge d’affaires Joao Sabido Costa in Islamabad.
Guests at a farewell luncheon held for Portugal’s charge d’affaires Joao Sabido Costa in Islamabad.

Joao Sabido Costa, Portugal’s charge d’affaires was given an elegant farewell luncheon by businessman Zaheer Naqvi and his family last Saturday. The event was attended by a large number of ambassadors, senior members of the business community and friends. The event was made particularly pleasant since conversation could take place on the lawn in the sunny weather or inside the spacious residence, where the elaborate lunch was served.

In his speech, Joao Sabido Costa expressed thanks to his colleagues, authorities and friends for three enjoyable years in Pakistan. He is now returning to Portugal until the foreign office decides about further posting abroad or at home.

“But I hope to have some time at home now after my years in Pakistan, and before that, a posting to Canada. My wife, who is a business woman, has stayed at home most of the time, but making several visits to Pakistan. Our two daughters are young adults and busy with their education.”

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2019

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