Qureshi meets African envoys to review Pakistan’s engagement with African countries

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday met African Envoys based in Islamabad to review Pakistan’s engagement with Africa, identify impediments to fulfilling its true potential and chart a way forward.
Held under the rubric of the Government’s “Engage Africa” initiative, the meeting was attended by Envoys from Algeria, Kenya, Libya, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa, Sudan and Tunisia. Recalling the long history of close friendly relations with Africa, the Foreign Minister noted that Pakistan had supported African struggle of freedom from the yoke of colonialism and remained a trustworthy partner in the maintenance of peace and security with the Continent.
He underlined that as part of “Engage Africa” Initiative, Pakistan was significantly enhancing its diplomatic footprint and economic engagement in Africa.
The success of the Pakistan-Africa Trade Development Conference, held in January 2020 in Nairobi, highlighted the untapped potential of bilateral trade and investment ties, and underscored the mutual desire to take them to a higher level, he added.
The Foreign Minister observed that Pakistan had recorded a 7% growth in trade with Africa over the last year, despite the COVID-19 related social and economic challenges.
He also apprised the participants about the outcome of the virtual meeting with Pakistan’s Heads of Mission in African capitals, held on Wednesday, during which he had encouraged them to cultivate and broaden mutually beneficial partnerships with African countries, focusing on trade, investments and tourism. African Envoys gave valuable suggestions to enhance mutually beneficial partnership between Pakistan and Africa. The participants, inter alia, observed that, besides potential at the bilateral level, conclusion last year of the historic agreement on establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) – geographically the largest trading bloc – presented an excellent opportunity for enhancing trade and economic ties.
The Foreign Minister welcomed African Envoys’ views and valuable suggestions and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to forging stronger Pakistan-Africa partnership that helps advance the shared objectives and takes mutual cooperation to a new level.
This was the fourth of a series of meetings on Economic Diplomacy that the Foreign Minister was hosting. His region-specific interactions will continue.
FM holds telephonic conversation with Saudi counterpart; congratulates on successful GCC Summit: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud on Thursday.
Foreign Minister Qureshi congratulated his Saudi counterpart on holding a successful Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Al-Ula on 5 January 2021 and appreciated the positive role played by Saudi Arabia in the resolution of outstanding issues among the members of the GCC.
He hoped that the spirit of cooperation exhibited at the GCC-Summit in Al-Ula will promote confidence and cooperation among the GCC countries and will also contribute towards enhanced regional peace, security and development.
Foreign Minister Qureshi thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its support during the 47th Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Niamey, in November 2020, in particular for the adoption of OIC resolutions on Jammu & Kashmir dispute and combating Islamophobia. The two Foreign Ministers discussed ways to further deepen and expand bilateral relations and collaborate closely in multilateral organizations. They also agreed to continue mutual consultations on regional and global issues of common interest. Foreign Minister Qureshi said he looked forward to receiving the Saudi Foreign Minister in Islamabad, at an early date.