Volcanic eruptions delay EU-Pakistan summit

18:55, April 19, 2010      

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The Second EU-Pakistan Summit scheduled to be held in Brussels on April 21 has been postponed due to halt in European air travel resulting from volcanic ash clouds, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said Monday.

The Second EU-Pakistan Summit will be rescheduled as soon as possible keeping in view the convenience of both sides, said a statement.

"Pakistan attaches great importance to its partnership with the EU based on commonality of interests. Both sides are, therefore, keen to continue their dialogue and consultations at the highest level and regret the present situation that has resulted in the postponement of the summit," it said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's visit to Paris and Madrid has also been called off due to civil aviation crises resulting from the volcanic eruptions in Iceland and dense ash- clouds covering European atmosphere, the Prime Minister's office said Sunday.

Gilani was supposed to leave on Monday for bilateral visit to France followed by the Pakistan-European Union summit in Brussels.

The bilateral visit to Spain was the last stop before returning to Islamabad.

The visit will be rescheduled at an appropriate time in consultation with the European Union Secretariat and the governments of France and Spain, a statement from the PM office said.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flights to and from European countries have also been affected because of volcanic ash from Iceland.

Millions of travelers have been hit by four days of air travel disruption. The disruption is said to be greater than the shutdown that followed the 9/11 attacks.

About 20 European countries have closed their airspace and some have extended flight bans into Monday.

Source: Xinhua


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