ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Germany on Tuesday vowed to cement ties and enhance cooperation in multiple sectors.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and German counterpart Annalena Baerbock said the two countries have unanimity of views on so many issues. Addressing a joint news conference, Bilawal referred to the Russian-Ukraine conflict and said Pakistan had a firm position that it should not be dragged to any conflict. He said Pakistan always advocated for holding of dialogue and use of diplomacy as tools for pursuit of peace in the world. “Pakistan is a small and developing country, but it always advocated that international laws should be adhered to, he said, adding that all world conflicts should be resolved through peaceful means,” he said.

Bilawal said the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine could not be ignored and stressed that Pakistan would continue to advocate for dialogue and diplomacy as means in the pursuit of peace.

The FM said Pakistan always emphasised upon the adherence of UN principles and its charters and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries.

Bilawal observed that ramification of the conflict in the EU in shape of Russian-Ukraine conflict was also felt in Pakistan in the shape of increasing prices of fuel and food.

He reiterated that Pakistan called upon immediate cessation of hostilities and immediate initiation of peaceful dialogue.

He said considering the plight of people in Ukraine, Pakistan had dispatched four planeloads of humanitarian aid.

The foreign minister said Pakistan remained concerned about the well-being of the Ukrainian people, civilian casualties, massive exodus of refugees.

The FM said Pakistan wanted to engage with all its neighbours. Pakistan played an important role in establishing the diplomatic ties between China and the US and it would continue to play a role of bridge.

The foreign minister said that Pakistan and Germany enjoyed a close and long standing cordial cooperation based upon mutual respect and driven by bilateral ties and shared interests.

He said both the countries were also close partners in the European Union context.

Bilawal said German had been Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the EU context and its fifth world export destination.

Last year, he said Pakistan export to Germany stood around to $2.5 billion while German import remained at $1.3 billion.  Germany was also the seventh largest direct investor in Pakistan.

The FM said Pakistan always emphasized upon and supported a peaceful and stable Afghanistan contributing to the regional progress and development and connectivity.

He stressed upon the international community to focus on the humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people who had been facing a financial crises. A UN report had indicated that about 97 per cent of Afghan population had been pushed below the poverty line and faced immediate danger of hunger and starvation.

At the same time, the foreign minister stressed that the Afghan government must come up to the expectation of the international community with regard to upholding of the human and women’s rights and take effective steps against terrorism.

| German FM lauds Pakistan for showing ‘a big heart’ to help Afghan refugees

| Annalena Baerbock says Germany concerned over Taliban treatment of women

| Bilawal says Pakistan should not be dragged to Russian-Ukraine conflict

German FM cuts trip short after positive COVID test

He urged the international community to actively engage with the Afghan government to avoid humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, adding releasing of its foreign assets would help its sagging economy.

The foreign minister also enumerated Pakistan’s efforts for the safe evacuation of foreigners in the earlier phases after the Taliban took control of the country.

Bilawal said Pakistan had faced the brunt of terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan and it was in world’s interest to ensure peace in Afghanistan, so that no terrorist activities could take place in that country.

He said it was important for the international community to engage with the new rulers of Afghanistan.

The FM said Pakistan had been a victim of terrorism from the groups operating in Afghanistan, adding they were concerned about the consequences of the humanitarian crises unfolding on their borders.

He called upon the international community to help avoid a total economic collapse in Afghanistan.

The foreign minister said Pakistan faced economic constraints in helping the Afghan refugees, still it was playing a very responsible role on the world stage.

On Pakistan’s diplomatic priorities, he said they had focused on strengthening of economic relations by resetting of ties with different countries, adding Pakistan was keen that its GSP plus status should be extended so that its businesses and economy could take benefits.

About the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) issue, he said that he had been vociferously raising the Indian atrocities during his engagements at the global fora and in his meetings with his counterparts of various countries including the US secretary of state.

Bilawal citing the recent provocative and sacrilegious statements by the BJP leaders, said that such outrageous and highly condemnable statements had hurt the sentiments of the Muslims all over the world.

He said it was a proof that India had turned into a fascist country and it was no longer a secular India, but dominated by Hindutva ideology.

The FM reiterated: “The peace in South Asia was contingent upon peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue.”

On the occasion, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that during her meeting with FM Bilawal they had discussed at length the issue of Afghanistan where the situation had forced millions to leave the country.

Lauding Pakistan’s role for peace and stability in Afghanistan, she said Pakistan had shown ‘a big heart’ to provide shelter and support to Afghan refugees.

The German FM said it was an enormous task and reiterated her government’s solidarity and support to Pakistan.

Germany remained committed to continuing its support to the Afghan refugees in Pakistan, she said, urging the international partners to play their part in supporting efforts for education and health sectors.

She also expressed Germany’s concerns over Taliban treatment of women and people and said that Afghan’s economy had come to a grinding halt.

Annalena Baerbock said that Taliban government had been heading in the wrong direction still she reiterated that they would not abandon the people of Afghanistan and would continue to provide support.

About ties with Pakistan, she said that both countries had been the closest and reliable partner, adding both countries achieved when they worked together by further strengthening the bilateral relations.

The German foreign minister said Germany and Pakistan had prioritize their efforts to combat climate crises as the time for the world community was running out, requiring immediate global action.

She said both the countries excellent ties and there existed immense opportunities for trade and investment and energy sectors

To a question regarding Kashmir, she said they supported resolution of the Kashmir issue in accordance with the UN resolutions. She said they believed that a constructive approach and confidence building measures between Pakistan and India were key to improvement of the ties and solution of the issue.

 

German FM cancels meetings after tested corona positive

The visiting German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has postponed all her official engagements in Pakistan after she was detected corona positive on Tuesday after meeting Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at the foreign ministry.

Diplomatic sources confirmed that she is in quarantine at her hotel in Islamabad, and her scheduled meeting with PM Shehbaz Sharif was also postponed.

The sources in the German embassy confirmed that another coronavirus test would be carried out on her late night, after which it would be decided that if she would be staying or flying out of Pakistan.

Her visit to a police station in Islamabad, scheduled for today has also been cancelled.

FM BILAWAL QUARANTINES HIMSELF

Meanwhile, after coming to know about positive corona test of his German counterpart, FM Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has cancelled all his engagements and quarantined himself at his residence.

Sources close to FM Bilawal Bhutto confirmed that his tests are being done, and he would continue holding virtual meetings from home.