Pakistan FM to lead delegation to ASEAN forum

19:24, July 21, 2010      

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Pakistan's Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi will lead a delegation to the meeting of the 17th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial Meeting to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam from July 22-23, the Foreign Office said Wednesday.

Pakistan was admitted to the ARF in 2004 and has since been represented in all the Ministerial meetings and other major events.

"Our presence in the ARF provides us an opportunity to associate closely with not only Southeast Asian states, but also with major powers in an exclusive multilateral forum that is aimed at fostering constructive dialogue and consultation on political and security issues of common interest and concern," the Foreign Office spokesman said.

On the sidelines of ARF Ministerial Meeting, Foreign Minister will have bilateral meetings with Foreign Ministers of China and Japan and the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam besides meeting Heads of Delegation from other important countries, he said.

"Pakistan attaches great importance to the ASEAN Regional Forum process. As part of its Vision East Asia policy, Pakistan is endeavoring to strengthen its relationship with the Southeast Asian region. It is already a Sectoral Dialogue Partner of ASEAN and seeking Full Dialogue Partnership," the spokesman said.

Pakistani trade with ASEAN countries has grown to 4 billion U.S. dollars and negotiations are underway to conclude bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with some leading countries. Malaysia and Pakistan already have a comprehensive FTA which is operational, he said.

Source: Xinhua


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