Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi received the Federal Minister for European and International Affairs of Austria, Alexander Schallenberg, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today and held wide ranging delegation level talks. Mr. Schallenberg is on an official visit to Pakistan from 16-19 March 2022, at the invitation of Foreign Minister. The Austrian Foreign Minister is accompanied by a business delegation.
During the delegation talks, the two sides reviewed Pakistan-Austria bilateral cooperation in various sectors including trade and investment, higher education, renewable energy, tourism, science & technology etc. The Foreign Minister hoped that the two sides could work together to increase high level exchanges as well as parliamentary interactions. The Foreign Minister appreciated Austrian government’s support for Pakistan-Austria Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology in Haripur and said that we needed to establish more such projects in Pakistan. The Foreign Minister said that Austrian companies were familiar with Pakistan and could serve as a model for other companies to take advantage of Pakistan’s business friendly environment.
In addition to bilateral relations, the two sides also exchanged views on the regional situation including Afghanistan, IIOJK and Ukraine. The Foreign Minister presented Pakistan’s perspective on Afghanistan stressing that the most pressing issues in Afghanistan were humanitarian and economic crises, which needed to be addressed urgently. The Foreign Minister added that Pakistan urged the international community for constructive engagement to ensure continued progress towards the shared goals of a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
The Foreign Minister said that the situation in Ukraine remained concerning as conflict does not serve anyone. The Foreign Minister shared Pakistan’s stance on Ukraine, emphasizing cessation of hostilities, sustained dialogue and astute diplomacy for a diplomatic solution. Pakistan remained committed to the fundamental principles of the UN Charter: self-determination of peoples, non-use or threat of use of force, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and pacific settlement of disputes. The Foreign Minister hoped that talks between Russia and Ukraine could yield a positive outcome.
The Foreign Minister said that Pakistan was immensely thankful to neighboring European countries for support extended in evacuation of Pakistani nationals from Ukraine. Foreign Minister Qureshi informed his Austrian counterpart that as a gesture of solidarity, the government of Pakistan has sent relief assistance to the people of Ukraine to mitigate their suffering in these difficult times.
Foreign Minister Qureshi briefed Foreign Minister Schallenberg about serious human rights violations in IIOJK which demanded attention of the international community in holding India accountable for the human rights crimes being committed in the occupied territory.
The Foreign Minister further apprised the Austrian Foreign Minister of the so-called “accidental” firing of a missile from India into Pakistani territory adding that the explanation provided by India, was unconvincing and raised several questions. The Foreign Minister hoped that the international community would take serious notice of this incident of grave nature in a nuclearized environment and play its due role in upholding strategic stability in the region.
The two Foreign Ministers agreed to remain in contact.
Nadeem Faisal Baiga
17 March 2022