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Italy supports Pakistan’s case for FTA with EU

Islamabad, IRNA | Wednesday May 23, 2007

Italy supports Pakistan’s case for FTA with EU

Italy has strongly supported Pakistan’s case for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union and given assurance to encourage Italian investment in Pakistan.

Addressing a news conference with Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri in Islamabad on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Italy Massimo d’Alema said Pakistan should consider his country as an ally on the FTA issue.

He referred to EU’s FTA with India and said there should not be double standards in the region and EU should consider aspiration of Pakistan seriously.

The Italian foreign minister said during his talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai he urged him to focus on national
reconciliation and reconstruction to isolate terrorist elements.

Massimo appreciated Pakistan’s strong commitment to fight against terrorism.

He said Italy is organizing G-8 summit together with Pakistan and Afghanistan to help promote peace and stability in the region.

Italy would also be hosting an international conference on rule of law in Afghanistan in the first week of July this year and hoped that a high level delegation from Pakistan would attend the moot.

In his remarks, Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri said during their talks the two countries agreed to take tangible measures for further strengthening of commercial relations to their mutual benefit.

He noted positive in trade that has crossed a billion dollar mark.

He said they are keen to further expand relations in all areas especially trade and commerce, defence, higher education, energy, agriculture and information technology.

Kasuri said he briefed Massimo d’Alema about Pakistan economic turn around and the lucrative opportunities for investment in a host of areas.

He said the two countries have agreed to enhance cooperation within the European Union.

Pakistan emphasized the need for equitable market access for Pakistan within the EU through a Free Trade Agreement or a similar mechanics.

The foreign minister said he also updated his Italian counterpart on the composite dialogue process with India and Pakistan’s efforts to build peace and prosperity in South Asia.

He also briefed him on Pakistan’s endeavor for strengthening peace, security and development in Afghanistan.

Pakistan and Italy also discussed ongoing cooperation on the important issue of UN reform where they share similar perceptions.

They agreed to instruct their Permanent Representatives to the UN to further strengthen cooperation for a more democratic and effective international order.

To a question the Italian foreign minister said his country shares Pakistan’s stand on UN reforms especially expansion of permanent membership of the Security Council.

He said like Pakistan his country is against increase in permanent seats and wants more regional representation in the Security Council.

Kasuri said they also exchanged ideas on the need for promoting dialogue and understanding between the Islamic countries and the West.

 source: IRNA