ULAANBAATER: Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Friday called for addressing root-causes of conflicts -especially longstanding disputes that spread desperation and lead to violent reactions – to overcome the more complex global challenges.
“Recent tragic events in (Indian Held) Jammu and Kashmir and Palestine are examples of such failures,” Sartaj Aziz said while speaking at the Plenary Session II of the 11th ASEM (Asia Europe Meeting) Summit, being held here in capital of Mongolia.
The Advisor, who was leading Pakistan delegation at the Summit, said in the past 20 years, since ASEM was launched, the world has become increasingly interdependent and many global multilateral and regional institutions have been striving hard to promote peace, ensure political stability and enhance human progress in all parts of the world.
“But these efforts are today overshadowed by a large number of geo-political conflicts, growing threats of violent extremism, forcible displacement of 60 million people, accelerated environmental degradation and rising inequality. As a result, there is widespread pessimism among the common people about the present system of global governance.”
He said, “In this challenging and complex world, we do occasionally hear good news that revives our hope in the future: elimination of chemical weapons from Syria, the Iranian nuclear deal, the landmark agreement on climate change, new rules for global peacekeeping and the consensus on Sustainable Development Goals for the next 15 years.”
“How can we build on these successful multilateral efforts and overcome the more complex global challenges. That is the question before this Summit,” he added.
Sartaj Aziz offered three suggestions:-
“One: Learning from our mistakes. If we look deeper, we will find that many of the problems, we face today are the indirect consequences of past policies or initiatives that were launched for certain objectives that are no longer important.”
Second: Addressing root-causes of conflicts, specially longstanding disputes that spread desperation and lead to violent reactions. Recent tragic events in Jammu & Kashmir and Palestine are example of such failures.”
Third: Promoting the culture of compromise, by giving greater importance to collective interests of humanity as a whole, as long as they do not adversely affect vital national interests.”
Sartaj Aziz said ASEM has made a good choice in emphasizing on Connectivity at this important Summit, adding, it provides ASEM an area of interest with tremendous scope of growth in both Asia and Europe.”
In this regard, Pakistan welcomes China’s proposal of establishing a Working Group on Connectivity. We hope that the Working Group will come up with practical proposals for enhancing connectivity specially cyber connectivity between the two continents and their peoples.”
“The concept of connectivity, we believe, should not be confined to building roads, rails, air links or ports. It should include soft connectivity i.e. sharing of ideas, knowledge, information technology, culture, and unified action to tackle issues of common concerns,” he added.
On its part, the Advisor said, Pakistan was committed to enhancing regional connectivity through improvements in its transport, trade logistics and energy sectors.
“The flagship project in this regard is China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), linking Western China to Pakistani ports on the Arabian Sea.
“It is a potential game-changer for the region as it could be a catalyst for economic activity and integration with Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. It would benefit around three billion people of the region,” he added.
Sartaj Aziz said energy connectivity to integrate surplus energy resources of Central Asia with large energy markets of South Asia, was also on their agenda.
“Two projects, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline and Central Asia South Asia (CASA-1000) electricity project are already under implementation. TAPI will bring natural gas from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India,” he added.
The Advisor informed the august gathering that as part of their commitment to support connectivity initiatives, Pakistan co-sponsored ASEM Media Dialogue on Connectivity, held in Guangzhou in May this year.
He said Pakistan will continue to work with ASEM in realizing its objectives and promoting cooperation and harmony between Asia and Europe.
The Advisor on behalf of the Government of Pakistan and on his own behalf, expressed his sincere gratitude to the Government of Mongolia for its generous hospitality and excellent arrangements for this Summit.
He also congratulated all member countries on the auspicious occasion of the twentieth anniversary of ASEM. –APP