Paris, May 03, 2016: The 12th round of Pakistan-France bilateral political consultations at the Foreign Secretary level was held here yesterday. Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry led the Pakistan delegation while the French side was led by Mr. Christian Masset, Secretary General of Foreign Affairs.
A wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues were discussed during the meeting. The Foreign Secretary gave an overview of Pakistan’s internal situation including notable achievements by the Government to improve law and order, stabilize the economy and overcome the energy crisis. He briefed his French counterpart on significant role played by Operation Zarb-e-Azb in achieving success in the fight against terrorism and wide ranging National Action Plan to address the root causes of terrorism in the country.
Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry also briefed the French side on Pakistan’s foreign policy priorities, particularly efforts to facilitate an intra-Afghan process of political reconciliation. France appreciated Pakistan’s positive role in peace efforts in Afghanistan. Both sides acknowledged the need to work together to address the continuing threat of terrorism and radicalization, which had affected both Pakistan and France. The Foreign Secretary emphasized that closer cooperation was required between all countries on the issue of terrorism, since it is a global problem. Recent developments in the region were also discussed. The French side highlighted the challenges confronting France and the European Union.
Both sides agreed to work actively to enhance the existing level of bilateral trade of US$ 1.5 billion per annum, which was not commensurate with the size of the two economies. The positive role played by the European Union’s GSP Plus facility in promoting trade links was also noted. The two countries would encourage their respective private sectors to take advantage of the investment opportunities on offer in both countries. During the talks, both countries also held extensive discussions to strengthen bilateral cooperation in higher education, cultural exchanges, science and technology and defense and security.
It was decided to hold the next round of bilateral political consultations in Islamabad next year.
Besides the consultations, the Foreign Secretary also held meetings with Mr. Jacques Audibert, Diplomatic Adviser to the French President and Mr. Louis Gaultier, French Secretary General for Defense and National Security.