• Iraqi FM holds talks with Qureshi
• Turkish defence minister calls on PM

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Iraq on Wednesday agreed on setting up a mechanism for political consultations between the two countries and early convening of a body that steers bilateral cooperation.

This was agreed during Iraqi Foreign Minister Dr Fuad Hussein’s two-day visit to Pakistan.

A memorandum of understanding on ‘Bilateral Political Consultations’ was signed by the two sides after their delegation-level talks at the Foreign Office.

The new mechanism would provide for regular consultations on bilateral issues as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Moreover, the two sides agreed on early convening of the ninth session of the Pakistan-Iraq Joint Ministerial Commission.

The FO said this would help strengthen institutional efforts to expand mutual collaboration.

Mr Qureshi, during the talks, stressed the importance of expanding bilateral trade and economic cooperation through enhanced connectivity and closer business-to-business and people-to-people linkages.

He noted that there was potential in promoting tourism, scientific and educational collaboration as well as cooperation in food security and oil sectors.

Issue pertaining to Pakistani pilgrims visiting Iraq were also discussed. Mr Qureshi requested for further facilitation in visas and travel, particularly during Muharram and Arbaeen period.

Mr Qureshi also briefed the visiting Iraqi foreign minister about the developments in Afghanistan and Indian high-handed tactics in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

During a media conference at the end of the meeting, the Iraqi foreign minister expressed concern over growing violence in Afghanistan. He hoped that the warring sides would be able to politically negotiate a solution to the conflict.

On Kashmir conflict, he said that Iraq expected both sides to hold negotiations so that the issue could be resolved peacefully through dialogue.

The Iraqi foreign minister promised to look into the issues facing Pakistani pilgrims visiting holy places in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar called on Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Mr Khan expressed satisfaction at the existing level of bilateral defence cooperation. Prime Minister Imran Khan also thanked for Turkey’s strong and consistent support to Pakistan on all issues, particularly the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

The prime minister shared Pakistan’s perspective on the Afghan peace process and said that Pakistan would continue to make every effort to help advance the Afghan peace process and to realise a political solution.

Mr Akar concurred with PM Khan on the need for enhancing cooperation in all areas to the mutual benefit of both the countries.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2021

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