Pakistan, Iraq agree to multiply cooperation

Pakistan and Iraq yesterday vowed to multiply cooperation as the foreign ministers of the two countries held talks here.

The two sides agreed to adopt a joint strategy to enhance bilateral cooperation in international fora, including the United Nations and to advance the process of political consultation.

The foreign ministers of Pakistan and Iraq, who led delegation-level talks, focused on bilateral and regional consultations on trade, energy, religious tourism, defence cooperation, human resource, employment and consular matters.

Speaking at a joint news conference after the talks, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan and Iraq had agreed to convene an early meeting of the 9th session of the Joint Ministerial Commission. He said this was a good forum to further the relationship.

Qureshi said the two sides also discussed ways and means to facilitate Iraqi visas for Pakistanis especially during Moharram. He said Pakistan on the special interest of Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced a new Zaireen (devotees) management policy.

“We have a plan to facilitate the Zaireen when they travel to Iraq. We plan to have a Pakistan House in Karbala and open consulates in Najaf and Karbala. A medical center will also be established for Zaireen visiting Iraq,” he added.

Iraq acknowledges Pakistan’s role on Afghanistan

FM Qureshi said that he also briefed his Iraqi counterpart about the gross human rights violations taking place in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The Foreign Minister said both the sides had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a bilateral political consultation mechanism for regular consultations on issues of regional and global issues so that they can synchronize their positions at the global forums.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Dr Fuad Hussein in his remarks acknowledged that Pakistan was playing an important role in the Afghan peace process. He said Pakistan believed in various political groups come and work together for peace in Afghanistan.

Regarding the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, he stressed the need for resolution of the longstanding dispute through dialogue between Pakistan and India. Expressing the desire to strengthen trade and other relations with Pakistan, the Iraqi Foreign Minister said Pakistani Zaireen were welcomed in Iraq. He said this sort of interaction will help further strengthen the bilateral relations.

To a question, Foreign Minister Qureshi said Pakistan will continue to facilitate the Afghan peace process despite the negative statements emanating from some quarters in Afghanistan. He once again made it clear that Pakistan had no favourites in Afghanistan and ultimately it is the Afghans who have to sit and work out the future for themselves.

Earlier, the two Foreign Ministers had in-depth delegation-level talks, during which they exchanged views on bilateral relations as well as regional and global issues of common interest. They reaffirmed the long-standing and friendly ties between the two countries, rooted deep in shared faith, common values and cultural affinities; and reaffirmed the desire to further strengthen bilateral relations in all fields.

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