Pakistan is enjoying deep rooted diplomatic, political and economic relations with Argentina, Peru and Uruguay. These Latin American countries are significant to Pakistan’s growing demands of opening up new avenues of cooperation and investment opportunities for business men. Formal diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Argentina were established in 1951 and last year both countries celebrated their fifty years anniversary of relations. First formal agreement was signed in 1983 and since then there is no look back in terms of achieving highest level of cooperation. High level visits have taken place which has increased the cordial relationship seen today and there was continued discussions in fields of mutual interest such as their respective economic and political systems.
Mrs. Naela Chohan is current Ambassador of Pakistan to Argentina is who is not only serving as Ambassador for Argentina but also looking after the diplomatic affairs of Pakistan for Peru, Uruguay and Ecuador. She has decades of diplomatic experience with serving at very highest prestigious positions such as High Commissioner of Pakistan in Ottawa, and the Embassy of Pakistan in Tehran (1989–1993), and Kuala Lumpur (1997–2001). She was also the first civilian and woman to head the National Authority on the Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention in Pakistan. Recently, Ambassador Chohan was on a few days visit to Pakistan. Taking advantage of her presence, The Diplomatic Insight arranged an exclusive sitting with her to talk about Pakistan and Argentina relations and also the significance of the Peru, Uruguay and Ecuador for Pakistan in its foreign policy endeavours towards this region.
Q: Thank you so much Ambassador for giving us your precious time. Since the commencement of the relations between Pakistan and Argentina, how would you analyze the relations and how far we have been able to remain successful in achieving the objectives that we have set almost five decades ago?
Mrs. Naela: It is also indeed a pleasure to talk to you and share thoughts with your readers. Pakistan and Argentina enjoys deep rooted cordial relations with other based on shared objectives of peace and development in the world. Argentina has been a friend indeed and was the one of the few countries that supported Pakistan at the UN during the 1971 crisis. It has been joining consensus on Pakistan’s resolution on people’s right to self determination tabled annually in the UN General Assembly and supported the resolution of Kashmir in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions. Pakistan has voted in favour of the UN Resolution which stipulated that “maintenance of colonial situation was incompatible with the United Nations ideal of universal peace”. Pakistan favours a peaceful settlement of the Malvinas dispute through negotiations.
Both countries have identity of views on the issue of UN reforms and expansion of the Security Council. They are active members of the Coffee Club and their delegates at New York work in close coordination to lobby for the United for Consensus (UfC) approach on the question of reform of the UN Security Council. Like Pakistan, Argentina supports nuclear non-proliferation. Besides the UN, Argentina is a member of the Organization of American States (OAS), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Bank, Ibero-American Summit, MERCOSUR trade Block and many other international organisations. As a member of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Argentina has been a strong voice in support of nuclear non-proliferation issues. The two countries are together in G-77 and China, NAM and G-20 of WTO. In the context of our close cooperation at the UN and other international fora both countries have traditionally supported each others’ candidatures to various international organizations.
Q: We would like you to highlight the significance of MERCOSUR?
Mrs. Naela: Mercosur means Common Southern Market and is an agreement between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. This treaty was founded in 1991 and later amended in 1994. The purpose of this agreement is to have a free trade, fluid movement of good, people and currency between the countries of South America. Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru currently have associate member status.
MERCOSUR with its enhanced membership and associate membership of ten countries of South America has emerged as an important trading bloc. Its burgeoning economy, political stability and immense potential, offer Pakistani entrepreneurs unprecedented opportunities. The two sides also stressed the importance of concluding a Preferential Trade Agreement between Pakistan and MERCOSUR. Pakistan – MERCOSUR Framework Agreement on Trade was signed on 21 July 2006 on the fringe of the bi-annual MERCOSUR Summit held in Cordoba, Argentina. The signing of this Agreement has initiated the process of negotiations between Pakistan and MERCOSUR to conclude a Preferential Trade Agreement, with the aim to sign Free trade Agreement.
Q: How far the recently acquired observer status of ALAD would help Pakistan in its economic endeavors towards this region?
Mrs. Naela: Actually ALADI is the Latin American Integration Association and that is trade integration association of the Latin American countries. Pakistan has recently joined this association and acquired observer status on the committee of ALADI. For Pakistan this forum is equally important to open itself to the market of the countries that are members of ALADI and it’s a great achievement to be part of this forum which would help Pakistan to integrate itself with these Latin American countries.
Exclusively by The Diplomatic Insight