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Pakistan interested to build deeper linkages with South Asian countries: Tariq Fatemi.

ISLAMABAD -- Special Assistance to Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs, Syed Tariq Fatemi Sunday said that Pakistan has always expressed its keen desire to build deeper trade and economic linkages with South East Asian countries and ASEAN.

Syed Tariq Fatemi while addressing 21st Ministerial meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum(ARF) in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital of Myanmar said Pakistan is committed to promoting relations with ASEAN and South East Asian economies to eventually achieve Full Dialogue Partnership status with ASEAN. He said, "We urge all members of ASEAN to support our case for Full Dialogue Partnership."

He said Pakistan is the oldest Sectoral Dialogue Partner with ASEAN whose Full Dialogue Partnership has been put on hold since 1993.

Tariq Fatemi said as peace loving country, one of the core principles of Pakistan's foreign policy has been to promote and work toward building a peaceful neighbourhood. In this context, he said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has always emphasized the significance of cooperation over confrontation in the region and beyond.

"Our strong opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is evident, once again in the recently launched military operations against all terrorists, irrespective of their affiliation and orientation," he added.

He said Pakistan also called for the peaceful resolution, through friendly dialogue, of differences relating South China Sea, so that peace and stability in this important region is not disturbed.

He said it is also a matter of grave concern for Pakistan and is for the world community that the growing bitterness in intra-regional relations and the advent of proxy forces in the conflicts has made the situation worse. A

"All of us, therefore, need to play our role for the diplomatic and peaceful solution to these conflicts. It would be helpful if all of us support the UN resolutions, adopted from time to time, for the resolution of such disputes," he added.

Tariq Fatemi said Pakistan also supported the sentiments of the member countries to convey deep sense of grief, anguish and distress over the current violence and aggression in Gaza. He said with a view to stop the bloodshed, Pakistan has strongly condemned Israeli aggression and expressed solidarity with the Palestinians. He emphasised the need for early resolution of the Middle East conflict in a just and equitable manner, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.

He said in response to the appeal from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Gaza, Pakistan has contributed US dollars one million to the fund created for this purpose. Commenting on situation in Iraq, he said it has become a matter of deep concern to all of the countries adding that the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate.

"We strongly feel that the only viable option is engagement in dialogue and we are apprehensive that if the conflict is allowed to fester, this could lead to extreme regional instability, particularly a sectarian conflagration, with unbearable consequences," he added.

Tariq Fatemi said history has provided an opportunity to convert the 21st century into a truly Asian Century by avoiding new conflicts and resolving the old ones.

He said, "ARF is an important instrument to realize this objective and we need to harness the potential this organization and its membership to harmonize our collective response towards increasing regional cooperation and security environment through dialogue and diplomacy.'

"Our common cause and diversity should in fact become our strengths that would lead us to path of negotiations and resolutions of difference and viable solutions to our numerous afflictions, " he added. Earlier, after arriving in Nay Pyi Taw, Syed Tariq Fatemi attended a welcoming dinner hosted by the Myanmar Foreign Minister Mr. U Wunna Maung Lwin last night.

He held warm and cordial exchanges with US Secretary of State John Kerry, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the Indian Foreign Minister Madam Sushma Swaraj, the EU Foreign Policy Chief Ms. Catherine Ashton and a host of other visiting foreign Ministers and Heads of Delegations. In all these exchanges, the Special Assistant raised issues of interest to Pakistan, including bilateral matters and the regional situation.

In his meeting with Secretary Kerry, the Special Assistant also drew the Secretary's attention to the deep pain and anguish caused to the Muslim world on account of the Israeli military operations in Gaza.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Aug 11, 2014
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