ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and British Foreign Secretary William Hague have agreed to enhance the strategic relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom, which underpins the enduring partnership between both countries.
The joint statement issued on Friday after the meeting of two officials in London said both reviewed progress on bilateral commitments and discussed future plans to develop a deeper dialogue between the two countries, strengthening friendship and promoting mutual interests.
The dialogue represents a long-term commitment by both countries to work together for greater security and prosperity.
Adviser Sartaj Aziz and Foreign Secretary William Hague discussed priority areas of the bilateral relationship including renewing commitment to increase bilateral trade to three billion pounds by 2015, enhancing Pakistan’s EU trade access recently secured with significant UK support, the UK’s commitment to stand alongside Pakistan to tackle militancy, terrorism and extremism while acknowledging the huge sacrifices the Pakistani nation has made.
Aziz and Hague also welcomed the positive contribution made by the British Pakistani community to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
The two sides agreed to review the whole spectrum of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s forthcoming visit to the UK.
After the meeting the Foreign Secretary William Hague said Pakistan and the UK share longstanding ties and he was pleased to have this opportunity to discuss plans to reframe the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue into a deeper and more focused agreement between our two countries, which strengthens our partnership and promotes our mutual interests.
This dialogue represents a continuing, long-term commitment by both countries to work together to create the conditions necessary for greater security and prosperity, he added.
Sartaj Aziz said he was delighted to hold substantive discussions with Foreign Secretary William Hague and other key British cabinet members on the progress of bilateral cooperation in areas of common interest.
He emphasized the importance of greater international recognition of Pakistan’s security concerns and said it was agreed to intensify efforts to achieve meaningful and mutually beneficial progress in a holistic manner under the framework of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue.
“The UK remains, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said, one of Pakistan’s closest allies and the leading development partner,” he added.
The Enhanced Strategic Dialogue was signed in 2011 and sets out the UK and Pakistan’s strategic partnership in five areas including trade and business relations; financial, macro-economic stabilization and development cooperation; Education and health; consultations on defence and security; and cultural cooperation.