UNITED NATIONS: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday urged UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to implement the Security Council resolutions on Kashmir which call for a plebiscite in the disputed Himalayan state. He also urged the UN chief to play his role in ending ‘unprovoked’ ceasefire violations by India along the Line of Control (LoC) and working boundary.
During a bilateral meeting at the UN headquarters, which was dominated by Kashmir, Premier Nawaz sought implementation of the UN resolutions on the Kashmir issue, saying that a plebiscite must be held to determine the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
According to a read-out of the meeting issued by the UN, Ban voiced concern over the tensions between India and Pakistan, and stressed on the need for the two countries to engage in a peaceful dialogue to resolve their outstanding problems. He added that his offices were available.
Nawaz and Ban also discussed the stalled peace process in Afghanistan.
The premier said Pakistan wanted to build a new relationship with Afghanistan. On the stalled peace talks, Nawaz said Pakistan was ready to assist in promoting reconciliation in Afghanistan, were it asked to do so. He hoped the process would resume soon. Ban encouraged Pakistan to continue engaging Afghanistan in order to help stabilise the country
In other bilateral engagements, Premier Nawaz met with different heads of state, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Senegal’s President Macky Sall, and Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates.
And his meetings with the European heads of state, Nawaz discussed economic issues, including support for GSP Plus trade concessions for Pakistan. He invited them to explore economic prospects in Pakistan. They also discussed regional ties including efforts to bring peace in Afghanistan and to improve ties with India.
PM Nawaz also held his first bilateral meeting with the new president of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena. They discussed matters pertaining to defence cooperation, trade and economic cooperation as well as the regional situation.
In his meeting with Gates, Premier Nawaz discussed the latter’s support for polio eradication in Pakistan and the efforts by the government in eradicating the virus. Gates, while appreciating the commendable work in controlling polio, said that was an excellent opportunity to get the number of polio cases to zero this year.
CPEC an ‘inspiring model’
Separately, addressing a high-level roundtable meeting on South-South Cooperation on Saturday, Premier Nawaz pointed to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as an ‘inspiring model’ for cooperation among developing nations.
The roundtable, co-chaired by Ban and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Nawaz said the CPEC promises to bring huge economic and development benefits not just to Pakistan and China, but also the entire region and beyond.
“We greatly admire the vision (one belt, one road initiative) underlying this initiative,” he said. “This development strategy and framework offers new opportunities for Asia’s transformation and prosperity.”
He added that stronger institutional support from the UN would help maximise the impact of South-South cooperation, as such an approach would help sustain development efforts and ensure enhanced participation of developing countries in the global economy.
“We need to make use of the South-South potential optimally, within the framework of a long-term vision.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2015.
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