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FM Qureshi, Iraqi ministers agree to expand bilateral cooperation

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi held separate meetings with his Iraqi defence and interior ministers during his official visit and reviewed the progress made on various aspects between the two countries. 

The foreign minister met with Minister of Defence of Iraq Jumaa Inad Saadoun Khattab reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to further deepen and diversify bilateral cooperation in the fields of defence and defence production. 

During a meeting at the Ministry of Defence, the two ministers noted with contentment the steady growth in bilateral defence relations. They agreed to continue exchanging senior-level delegations to sustain the positive momentum in the growing defence relationship between the two countries.

Recalling the visit of Pakistan’s minister for defence production to Iraq in January this year, he expressed satisfaction at frequent interactions at the ministerial level, which augured well for future bilateral defence ties of Pakistan and Iraq.

Foreign minister Qureshi said that this was reflected aptly by the participation of Iraqi Special Forces Paratroopers in the Pakistan National Day Parade on March 23.

The Iraqi defence minister fondly recalled his visit to Islamabad in February and appreciated the professionalism of Pakistani Armed Forces and the technical advancements made by the country in defence production. 

The foreign minister will be concluding his three-day visit to Iraq today. The visit (28-30 May 2021) was undertaken at the invitation of his Iraqi counterpart, Dr Fuad Hussein. 

Qureshi, Iraqi interior minister agree to enhance cooperation

In a separate meeting, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Iraq’s Minister of Interior Othman Ali Farhood Moshir Al-Ghanimi agreed on the need to exchange delegations with a view to enhancing cooperation in security matters, counter narcotics and visa facilitation. 

During a meeting, foreign minister Qureshi highlighted the professional expertise and commitment of Pakistan’s armed forces and law enforcement agencies in dealing effectively with the challenge of terrorism. 

He said the two countries could benefit from cooperation in countering terrorism, particularly sharing of expertise and intelligence and training and capacity building of their law enforcement agencies.

Foreign minister Qureshi acknowledged the sacrifices made by Iraq in its successful fight against terrorism. He also underscored strong religious and cultural affinities between the people of the two countries which provided significant opportunities for deeper bilateral cooperation.

In this regard, the foreign minister emphasized the need to enhance linkages by promoting religious tourism between the two countries. He said that facilitation of visas and improved services to Pakistani Zaireen could lead to enhanced bilateral trade, commerce and investment.

Agreeing with the foreign minister, the interior minister assured him of cooperation.   He also highlighted the need to enhance cooperation between the two countries in countering narcotics and drug control.