ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held separate meetings with his Chinese and Russian counterparts Wang Yi and Sergei Lavrov, respectively, on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) meeting of Council of Foreign Ministers on Thursday.
Mr Qureshi’s meeting with the Chinese minister was his second in three weeks. During the meeting, bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest were discussed, a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said here.
Mr Qureshi reiterated that Pakistan remained committed to “One China” policy and stood firmly behind China on core issues of its national interest.
He emphasised that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was important for peace and stability in the region and beyond and Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process was critical in restoring regional peace and stability.
He said India’s expansionist and unilateral actions, particularly since Aug 5, 2019, had been imperiling regional peace and security.
Russian minister accepts invitation to visit Pakistan
During the meeting with Russian FM Sergei Lavrov, the two sides discussed matters of mutual interest, including the Covid-19 situation, prospects of enhanced bilateral cooperation, regional issues and cooperation at multilateral fora.
They also exchanged views on further strengthening trade and economic cooperation, including in the field of energy, a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Foreign Minister Lavrov welcomed Pakistan’s likely participation in the forthcoming Kavkaz military exercise scheduled to be held in Russia later this month.
Foreign Minister Qureshi said that Pakistan considered Russia as an important partner, and wanted to forge a long-term and multi-dimensional partnership with it.
The two ministers also discussed the situation in Afghanistan in the context of the recent positive developments.
On the issue of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), Mr Qureshi shared deep concerns over the grave human rights and humanitarian situation as well as the Indian attempts to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory.
He underlined the urgent necessity of addressing the grave situation in the IIOJK.
Foreign Minister Qureshi extended an invitation to Mr Lavrov to visit Pakistan, which he gladly accepted.
The two foreign ministers agreed to remain in close contact and pursue enhanced cooperation in all spheres of common interest.
In his remarks at the meeting of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers, Mr Qureshi said the SCO was a vital platform for forging synergy with regional partners and realising benefits of emerging confluence between the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasian Economic Union.
He said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor supplemented the SCO’s vision of regional connectivity and economic integration. “We should not view development projects, including BRI and CPEC, through myopic geopolitical angles and should give them our full support,” he said.
Mr Lavrov, the foreign ministers of SCO member states and SCO Secretary General Vladimir Norov attended the event.
Expressing delight on Pakistan’s membership of the SCO Youth Council, Mr Qureshi said over the past 20 years, the SCO had grown tremendously in stature, prestige and influence.
He asked the SCO members to work together to address the resurgence of fascist ideologies and violent nationalism anywhere in the world, especially in the region.
The foreign minister called for pooling scientific and technical resources of SCO members to carry out joint research in diverse fields, particularly with a view to finding an effective vaccine for Covid-19. He also called for collective work to project the SCO as an effective forum for regional development and a new kind of international organisation based on the ideals of Shanghai spirit.
Appreciating the Russian foreign minister for hosting the meeting, Mr Qureshi said despite formidable difficulties, Pakistan had continued fruitful collaboration in the SCO, marked by solidarity and mutual support, under the stewardship of the Russian Federation.
The foreign minister saluted the healthcare professionals, scientists and researchers who are at the vanguard of the valiant anti-Covid-19 struggle and said Pakistan was open to sharing its experience in combating the pandemic in an effective manner.
He called for countering the pandemic’s negative economic impact through the Global Initiative for Debt Relief for developing countries as proposed by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
He also opposed politicising the pandemic and using it for stigmatising regions, religions or communities.
Mr Qureshi said the world today was becoming increasingly multi-polar with the competition between the old and emerging powers reshaping the contours of contemporary international relations.
“It is our firm belief that in this uncertain and brutally competitive environment that is full of zero-sum prophecies, cooperation and not confrontation should be the driving force in international politics,” he said.
He reaffirmed Pakistan’s position that the reform of the UN Security Council should be achieved through consensus for a more representative, democratic, effective and accountable council.
He said the peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes was a pre-requisite for achieving development, economic growth, poverty alleviation and social uplift of the masses.
Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2020