Friday, July 19, 2024

Pakistan, Ukraine agree to expand cooperation in areas of mutual benefit

Pakistan, Ukraine agree to expand cooperation in areas of mutual benefit
July 20, 2023 Web Desk

ISLAMABAD (APP) - Pakistan and Ukraine on Thursday agreed to expand cooperation in all areas of mutual benefit including trade, investment, agriculture, food security, defense cooperation, cultural exchanges and people to people contacts.

“In our meeting today, we agreed on the importance of regular dialogue and engagements to further strengthen the bilateral ties. We have also agreed to hold meetings of various institutional mechanisms in due course. We will continue to build on our conversation to add more substance to our relations,” said Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto in a joint press conference here along with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.

He said building bilateral trade and economic ties was a priority area for Pakistan.

The Ukrainian foreign minister said the both sides agreed to reinvigorate the bilateral mechanisms as both looked forward to holding the inaugural meeting of the Ukrainian and Pakistani Commission of the Economic Cooperation.

Pointing to an important issue of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Dmytro Kuleba said during the meeting he briefed the minister about the Russian withdrawal from this initiatives on Monday and about its consequences for global food security.

“We regret that it will be Ukraine and countries of Asia and Africa, who will suffer the most from Russia’s withdrawal,” he said, adding that by doing so Russia significantly undermined global food security that would result in hike in global food prices. He said that Ukraine considered Pakistan a good partner and it was ready to work in all areas especially in the area of food security.

Bilawal said it was in larger interest of Pakistan as well as the developed world that this grain deal should be restored. “I will be reaching out to the United Nation Secretary General and to my counterparts in Turkey and Russia to discuss Pakistan’s concerns and our desire the black sea grain initiative to be restored,” he assured his Ukrainian counterpart.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto said during the meeting, the current Ukrainian situation was also discussed and he expressed Pakistan’s deep concern at the prevailing situation and offered condolences on the loss of precious lives and immense human suffering.

“In a gesture of solidarity with the people of Ukraine and despite our own economic challenges, we have sent humanitarian assistance," he said, adding that prolonged conflict brought immense hardship and suffering to the civilian populations.

He hoped that peace will prevail so that the people of Ukraine and Russia could enjoy peace dividends. He also emphasized the importance of peaceful resolution of disputes and conflicts through dialogue and engagement and Pakistan’s readiness to support peace initiatives which can bring peace to the region.

Bilawal said Pakistan had vested interest in promoting peace and reconciliation. “We hope for a peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy.”

The minister also appreciated the Ukrainian government for its principled stance in supporting the resolution on countering religious hatred constituting incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on July 12.

The Ukraine foreign minister said since Ukrainian independence, the two countries had enjoyed excellent relationship. “We were always standing next to you in term of food crisis.”

He recalled that two years ago Ukraine felt pleasure to help Pakistan encountering the wheat shortage as the Ukrainian traders delivered more than one million tons of grain to Pakistan.

He also thanked Pakistan for providing humanitarian aid in the time when Ukraine needed it at most. "We understand it was not easy decision in terms of domestic economic situation but this is what friends do, they help each other in time of greatest needs.”

He said during the meeting the both sides deliberated upon boosting trade, solving the existing problems such as that of Pakistani students who had studied in Ukraine before the war started. He said he also briefed the minister about the opportunities, Ukraine’s offered in the area of digitalization of state services to make government more convenient.

Replying to a query, Bilawal Bhutto categorically stated that Pakistan did not had any agreement with Ukraine with respect to the military supplies to Ukraine since the war began. “Since the war began, we have not concluded any agreement for defence supplies to Ukraine,” he added.