Paris, 10 February 2023 (TDI): The 14th round of bilateral political consultations between France and Pakistan was held. The French side was led by Anne-Marie Descôtes, Secretary-General of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
While the Pakistani side was led by Foreign Secretary, Dr. Asad Majeed Khan. The Foreign Secretary was accompanied by Asim Iftikhar Ahmad, the Pakistani Ambassador to France, and other senior officials.
On this occasion, Pakistan and France signed the “Roadmap for Bilateral Cooperation,” which aims to strengthen ties in all areas of shared interest.
These include high-level discussions and collaboration in the political, economic, development, science and technology, education, culture, and tourism fields, as well as in the fields of migration, climate change, and multilateral domains.
The two sides had a comprehensive exchange of views on bilateral cooperation, and regional and multilateral issues.
The Foreign Secretary conveyed Pakistan’s profound appreciation for President Macron’s participation in the Geneva Conference on 9 January 2023 and the strong support pledged by France for the resilient reconstruction of flood-affected areas of Pakistan.
Foreign Secretary stressed the importance of regular high-level political contacts to provide guidance and impetus for enhancing a broad-based mutually beneficial partnership between the two countries.
In this vein, he noted that a meeting between President Macron and Prime Minister Sharif in New York on the sidelines of UNGA in September 2022 had imparted fresh momentum.
Both parties emphasized the value of parliamentary contacts in advancing multifaceted relations and strengthening political ties.
The two sides agreed to increase cooperation in the fields of energy, IT, agriculture and livestock, tourism, and other areas while reiterating the importance placed on economic, trade, and investment relations.
They talked about setting up special trade events and exchanging business delegations to maintain the recent upward trends in bilateral trade and investment.
The importance of GSP Plus as a tool for trade promotion and economic development, which has benefited both Pakistan and the European Union (EU), was emphasized by the Foreign Secretary.
Dr. Asad Majeed Khan also praised the French Development Agency’s (AfD) collaboration with Pakistan noting the opportunity for AfD’s portfolio to be further expanded there in areas of shared interest.
It is pertinent to note that AfD collaborates with Pakistan in the areas of mass transit, urban development, renewable energy, & heritage preservation.
The current state of the two parties’ bilateral defense and security cooperation was assessed. They decided to strengthen their long-standing defense ties and maintain them as well as their cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
In the context of multilateral action for the maintenance of global peace and security, they also discussed UN peacekeeping.
The Foreign Secretary gave his French counterpart a briefing on the situation in the region and the difficulties in upholding peace and security there. The two sides also discussed the state of affairs in Afghanistan.
In addition, the Foreign Secretary also highlighted the importance of resolving the Jammu and Kashmir conflict in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
He also urged the significance of the resolution of the aforementioned issues as per the aspirations of the Kashmiri people if South Asia is to experience long-term peace & stability. The 15th round of the BPC will take place in Islamabad.