UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday said he valued Pakistan's role in the effective functioning of the global body, calling the country a "fundamental partner of the United Nations".
He made the comments in a wide-ranging telephone call with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, during which they also discussed the coronavirus situation, economic recovery after the pandemic, international debt relief efforts, vaccine equality, peacekeeping, Indian-occupied Kashmir and the Afghan peace process, the Foreign Office said in a statement.
According to the statement, Guterres "valued Pakistan's constructive contributions towards the effective functioning of the organisation in the different areas of its work".
In particular, he lauded the country's presidency of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the promotion of the socio-economic development agenda.
Last year, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Munir Akram was unanimously elected as the president of the UN ECOSOC for the year 2020-21. It was the sixth time that Pakistan was elected as the president of the council.
Guterres also informed Qureshi about the UN's efforts for improving the situation in Afghanistan. For his part, Qureshi emphasised Pakistan's role in the ongoing peace process, pointing out that "it is imperative for the concerned parties to seize the historic opportunity and work together for securing an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement while guarding against the role of 'spoilers'."
"The two leaders agreed that the Afghan peace process should be taken forward through consultations and in a manner that helps establish durable peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan and the region," the statement added.
During the call, Qureshi assured Guterres of Pakistan's "full support" for the secretary general's reappointment for a second term in office.
He also appreciated the UN chief's "leadership during challenging times".
The foreign minister underscored Pakistan's "abiding commitment to multilateralism, with a strong UN playing a central role for the delivery of its mandates that meet the expectations of member states", according to the statement.
Last year, the UN secretary general had visited Pakistan for a four-day trip during which he met the prime minister, president and foreign minister, and addressed the two-day Refugee Summit in Islamabad.
'India's responsibility to create environment' for talks
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Foreign Minister Qureshi said the responsibility for creating a conducive environment for talks between Pakistan and India lay with the neighbouring country.
"Pakistan will not shy away from dialogue if India reviews its policy and expresses readiness for peaceful solution of all issues including [the] Kashmir dispute," Radio Pakistan quoted him as saying.
Qureshi said Prime Minister Imran Khan had said soon after assuming office that if India took one step for peace, Pakistan would take two.
He added that the reinforcement of the ceasefire agreement after talks between the director generals military operations of both the countries was "a positive development".