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Ist round of Pak-UK dialogue fruitful: PM

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ISLAMABAD, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Monday said the first round of strategic dialogue between Pakistan and United Kingdom was very fruitful and expressed confidence that the second round would be equally beneficial in strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries. The high level interaction, he added, greatly helps in opening up avenues for improving relations. The Prime Minister further stated that he was looking forward to Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Pakistan in the second round of strategic dialogue between the two countries.

The Prime Minister expressed these views during the meeting with Baroness Saeeda Warsi, Chairperson of the Conservative Party of United Kingdom here at the PM House on Monday evening.

The Prime Minister thanked the British government and the people of United Kingdom for their continued support to Pakistan in the European Union for seeking GSP plus facilities for introducing its products in the European markets, for playing a lead role in FODP and for being amongst those few countries which have delivered on their pledges during meeting in the Tokyo Donor’s Conference.

The Prime Minister also thanked the British government for its commitment under which Pakistan’s education sector would be supported over the period of five years.

He stated that education was one of the top priorities of his government in addressing the root causes of terrorism.

He hoped that the Education Task Force of the two countries would expedite the projects in primary and secondary education by making Islamabad the role model and also focusing on Southern Punjab.

He noted with satisfaction that it was the 3rd Ministerial visit from United Kingdom since the takeover of the new government and hoped that people to people and Parliamentary contacts between the two countries will also be strengthened in the interest of expanding bilateral cooperation in diverse fields.

While talking about the regional situation, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan wants to have good relations with its neighbours to focus its efforts on war against terror.

He also referred to his meetings with the Indian Prime Minister, which he viewed had helped to pave the way for resumption of dialogue on issues between the two countries.

The Prime Minister further said that he firmly believed that the dialogue was the only way forward to help resolve outstanding issues and ensure regional stability.

Saeeda Warsi expressed her gratitude on the very warm welcome and hospitality extended to her and her delegation during their visit to Pakistan.

She assured the Prime Minister that the new government in the United Kingdom wishes to have honest and genuine dialogue with Pakistan as it attaches very high priority to foster ever closer ties with Islamabad.

She reaffirmed the British government’s support to Pakistan bilaterally as well as at multilateral fora at this critical juncture of war against terror.

She stated that the United Kingdom had lobbied for Pakistan case in the European Union for grant of GSP plus facilities and her government was very disappointed when it transpired that the European Union failed to grant market access to Pakistan.

The United Kingdom nonetheless would continue using its influence in the European Union, with the FODP and the donor countries for Pakistan’s increased exports, creation of higher job opportunities and accelerated development activity in the country.

Baroness Warsi thanked the Prime Minister for his invitation to Prime Minister Cameron and assured him that the visit will take place in the near future.

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