Pakistan, EU to continue anti-terrorism cooperation

Islamabad, Nov 24 (IANS) Pakistan and the European Union have agreed to continue cooperation in the spheres of counter terrorism, security and defence, disarmament and non-proliferation, officials said on Thursday.

Top diplomats reached the agreement at the seventh meeting of Pakistan-EU Joint Commission held in Islamabad on Wednesday, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

They welcomed the holding of the second Dialogue on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, as well as the fifth round of the Counter-Terrorism Dialogue in April 2016 in Brussels.

The Pakistan side was jointly led by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry and Secretary Economic Affairs Division Tariq Bajwa. The EU delegation was led by Gunnar Wiegand, managing director of the European External Action Service.

The meeting discussed the economic reform programme of the Pakistani government and the EU welcomed the progress made in this respect.

The EU acknowledged the challenges faced by Pakistan in hosting over 3 million Afghan refugees and is ready to consider providing additional support, including for their voluntary repatriation to Afghanistan in safety and dignity.

They also agreed to further cooperate on migration issues, including irregular migration, and reaffirmed their commitment to the continued implementation of the EU-Pakistan Readmission Agreement.

Both sides recognised the importance of mutual cooperation in the field of energy.

They welcomed the agreement to hold a first EU-Pakistan energy meeting in January 2017 in Brussels to strengthen cooperation and exchange of information.

The next meeting of the bilateral joint commission will be held in Brussels in 2017.