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Khar for addressing issues by improving ties with neighbours

February 19, 2013

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.—Reuters Photo (File)

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar Tuesday said regional pivot of Pakistan government was based on wide political consensus that the challenges could only be addressed through improving relations with all its neighbours.

“Pakistan had been focusing on improving relations with not only its immediate neighbours but with all Central Asian and Middle Eastern countries as well as with Russia and Turkey,” she said while briefing a group of ambassadors and representatives of the regional countries.

The foreign minister invited the ambassadors of the “Heart of Asia Group” to brief them on the perspective and approach of the democratically elected government of Pakistan towards its neighbours as well as in the context of broader region.

The briefing was attended by the ambassadors/representatives of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.

Speaking about Pakistan's relations with its immediate neighbours, Khar said that Pakistan enjoyed exemplary relations with China which were based on complete trust and convergence of strategic interests.

With Iran, she said Pakistan enjoyed strong cultural and historical relations. The government has further invested in deepening its friendship and cooperation with Iran, she added.

Regarding India, the foreign minister noted that despite difficult relations in the past, Pakistan strongly believes that the only way forward was through building trust and confidence.

While Pakistan remained committed to normalising its relations with India, to sustain these relations on a long term basis, it was essential that the two countries addressed all their outstanding issues, including Kashmir, in a meaningful way, she added.

About Afghanistan, the minister noted that peace and stability in Afghanistan was not only essential for peace and stability in Pakistan but also for the broader region.

She briefed the ambassadors about the various initiatives Pakistan had taken on the request of High Peace Council to facilitate the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Speaking about regional connectivity, the FM said that Pakistan fully supported CASA-1000, TAPI, IP Gas Pipeline Project and extension of APTTA to the Central Asian countries.

She also briefed the ambassadors about the excellent relations Pakistan has with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey, Russia and all the Central Asian countries.

The envoys acknowledged and praised the role Pakistan was playing in facilitating the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

They also commended Pakistan's vision for the region and the efforts it had made towards normalising relations with its neighbouring countries.