Pakistan sovereign to decide about IP gas pipeline : UK

The new British government on Wednesday said it would not interfere in any sovereign decision of Pakistan. He, however, said that his country supports the United Nations Security Council resolutions on Iran.

Regarding its relations with Pakistan British Foreign Secretary said that Pakistan is a long-term strategic partner and we desire “deeper” and “stronger” bilateral ties in all areas.

The British Foreign Secretary who is here on a three-day official visit also vowed to deepen the “strategic dialogue” with Pakistan, besides increasing its development assistance to 665 million pounds Sterling over a period of four years.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said the prime minister has explained his position, which clearly states that Pakistan was a responsible country and was aware of its international obligations.

He said Pakistan needed energy for power generation and was working on a multi pronged strategy to address the shortfall, with the assistance of Friends of Democratic Pakistan, the EU and China, and will take a decision keeping in view all these matters.

FM Qureshi and British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague at a joint press conference following their meeting said they reviewed bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Qureshi described the talks as good and said both the sides decided to carry forward the process and expand the areas of cooperation.

The British foreign secretary said his new government was committed to “a long term productive friendship with Pakistan” and would put in a new momentum.

He also spoke high of the around one million Pakistani-born diaspora in the UK and said the two sides discussed the issue of visas and other matters.

He paid rich tributes to the “sacrifices” and the resilience shown by the Pakistani people in fighting extremism and terrorism.

“I salute the efforts of Pakistan in fighting extremism and terrorism.”

He acknowledged the enormous sacrifices made by Pakistan and the thousands of casualties at the hands of extremists and violent incidents.

To a question Britain’s ties with India and would they have any impact on its relations with Pakistan, William Hague said he was in Pakistan to emphasize that there was vast potential of improvement and broadening of bilateral relations between the two countries.

He said Britain has relations with many countries and these do not impact ties with others.

He however said that Britain would not like to lecture either India or Pakistan how to resolve the contentious issues like the water dispute, as he believed that both the countries have the ability to resolve it on their own.

FM Qureshi said he would take up the matter when he meets his Indian counterpart in Islamabad.

Qureshi when asked about the points raised by India regarding the Mumbai attacks said, Pakistan was studying these.


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