Pakistan not biased in international ties: FO

| Islamabad wants friendly relations with all including US, EU

ISLAMABAD  -   Pakistan yesterday said it was not biased in its relations with the countries and wanted friendship with all including the United States. Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed said Pakistan wanted balanced, objective and broad-based relations with all countries including the United States and the European Union.

He said Pakistan pursues a clear-minded and well thought out foreign policy.

Responding to another question, he said Pakistan also wanted cordial relations with its neighbours, including India.

He said it is India’s hostile behaviour that has brought us to a situation where dialogue process is under suspension.

He said India is also involved in gross human rights violations in held Kashmir.

He said Pakistan had been closely following the situation in Ukraine, and have remained proactively engaged with members of the international community.

“Pakistan is committed to the fundamental principles of the UN Charter: self-determination of peoples, non-use or threat of use of force, sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, and pacific settlement of disputes. Equally, Pakistan upholds the principle of equal security for all. These principles must be consistently and universally respected,” he added.

Ahmed said Pakistan remained deeply concerned at the recent turn of events. This reflects a failure of diplomacy. Prime Minister Imran Khan regretted the latest situation between Russia and Ukraine, and said that Pakistan had hoped that diplomacy could avert military conflict, he said.

“We have since repeatedly stressed the need for de-escalation, renewed negotiations, sustained dialogue, and continuous diplomacy,” the spokesperson said.

He said, “All efforts must be made to avoid further escalation of violence and loss of life as well as military, political and economic tensions which can pose an unprecedented threat to international peace and security and global economic stability. As consistently underlined by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the developing countries are hit the hardest economically by conflict anywhere.”

He added: “We hope the talks initiated between representatives of the Russian Federation and Ukraine will succeed in bringing about a cessation of hostilities and normalization of the situation. A diplomatic solution in accordance with relevant multilateral agreements, international law, and the provisions of the UN Charter is indispensable.”

Pakistan also supports all efforts to provide humanitarian relief to civilians in the affected areas, he said.

“We are most concerned about the safety and welfare of Pakistani citizens and students in Ukraine. The majority of them have been evacuated through a concerted effort in coordination with our concerned Missions there who have been working round the clock. Those who remain will be evacuated soonest. We appreciate the cooperation of the Ukrainian authorities as well as Poland, Romania, Hungary and other neighbouring countries in this context,” he said.

By way of quick roundup, he said, at the invitation of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Russia for an official visit on 23-24 February 2022.

“The prime minister was accompanied by a high-level delegation including members of the Cabinet. The bilateral Summit between the Prime Minister and the Russian President was the highlight of the visit,” he said.

“The US delegation for this meeting will be led by the Assistant United States Trade Representative for South and Central Asia, Christopher Wilson. The meeting will focus on further enhancing trade and investment between Pakistan and United States and explore potential for growth in areas of mutual interest including agriculture, health, energy, IT and other sectors,” he said.

He said the international community must compel India to halt its state-terrorism in IIOJK, immediately cease human rights violations, lift the inhumane military siege, and let the people of IIOJK exercise their just right to self-determination as enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Replying to a question, the spokesperson said Pakistan Mission in Ukraine is working round the clock to provide all possible assistance and cooperation to evacuate Pakistani citizens to safer places.

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