Islamabad, 11 September 2021 (TDI): Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, received Foreign Minister of Spain, Jose Manuel Albares on his maiden trip to Pakistan on 10th September 2021. His visit marked seventy years of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Spain.
During the meeting, matters related to bilateral relations and Afghanistan came under discussion. Both parties emphasized the desirability of peace and stability in Afghanistan. They agreed that the Taliban have to prove themselves through their deeds and not just words in order to be recognized by the world community. Shah Mahmood while reiterating Pakistan’s stance stated that the pragmatic engagement of the international community is critical for Afghanistan’s peace and stability. He insisted that the policy of incentive should be adopted to encourage Taliban fulfil their international commitments, instead of the policy of pressure and intimidation.
Foreign Minister Albares mentioned that the major concerns in Afghanistan are human, particularly women’s rights. He stated that the Taliban must ensure the safe passage for evacuation of Afghans that had worked with Spanish institutions during the twenty years of war in Afghanistan. It is pertinent to mention here that Spain sent almost 27,000 personnel to Afghanistan during the War on Terror, and lost the lives of 102 soldiers.
While exchanging views on humanitarian assistance, Shah Mahmood underscored Pakistan’s continued efforts in providing humanitarian relief to Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Albares also showed the same desire and shared that on 13 September, a conference will be held to assess the humanitarian needs of the Afghan people. Discussing bilateral relations, Shah Mahmood appreciated Spain’s support for GSP plus status for Pakistan in the EU. He also highlighted the steps taken by Pakistan to fulfill FATF conditions. Shah Mahmood further said that Spain is the third biggest trading partner of Pakistan in the EU and highlighted great prospects of Spanish investment in Pakistan.
Foreign Minister Albares expressed his desire to receive Foreign Minister Qureshi in Spain to deliberate on bilateral matters in the coming future.