Antalya Diplomacy Forum
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi represented Pakistan at the recently-held Antalya Diplomacy Forum.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who delivered the ADF’s opening address on June 18, stressed the importance of diplomacy in addressing global problems and warned that “you cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” He highlighted the lack of solidarity among governments around the world, and their shortcomings, in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
On June 19, Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, participated in a high-level panel discussion on ‘Regional Cooperation in Asia’ along with the foreign ministers of Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. He highlighted the challenges being faced by Asia in form of unresolved disputes, tensions induced from within and without, renewed arms race, containment policies, poverty, Covid-19 and climate change.
The foreign minister called for a renewed focus by Asian countries on geo-economics and underlined the three pillars of Pakistan’s policy: regional connectivity, development partnerships, and peace and prosperity.
Highlighting the potential of Asia in the 21st century, FM Qureshi drew attention to the possibilities of cooperation that existed on the continent. He emphasized that connectivity and greater regional integration in the form of trade and investment would pave the way for a successful Asian century. He urged Asian countries to renew focus on geo-economics and underlined the need for promotion of a rules-based global order.
In this context, he noted that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as a flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative, offered great opportunities for the countries of the region. He stressed the need for promotion of a rules-based global order. In his remarks, he also laid out five steps to promote greater regional cooperation in Asia:
1. Focus on sustainable development;
2. Focus on poverty alleviation;
3. Engagement with the international community and international financial institutions for debt relief for developing countries in Asia in order to provide them with fiscal space to deal with the challenges;
4. Arresting illicit financial flows out of Asia gained from proceeds of crime and corruption;
5. Tackling climate change.
the foreign ministers on the panel called for increased multilateralism to deal with the challenges faced by Asia and agreed on the need for a renewed focus on transit and connectivity projects in the region.
Moreover, he met various leaders on sidelines of the Forum. In his meeting with the EU High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell, FM Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s firm commitment towards the GSP Plus preferential trade regime and effective implementation of the 27 related international conventions. He highlighted that the GSP Plus had been a mutually beneficial undertaking, and played an important role in the growth of trade between the two sides. He briefed Borrell on Pakistan’s vital contributions to the Afghan peace process, and stressed that the conflict could only be settled through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process.
The foreign minister also briefed the EU HR/VP on the continued precarious human rights and security situation in occupied Kashmir and the latest moves by the Indian government to perpetuate its illegal occupation.
He urged the EU to take note of the systemic and gross human rights violations in the occupied territory and play its role for resolution of the dispute in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions and the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The writer is a member of staff.