Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pakistan seeking Sweden’s help for greater EU market access

Pakistan seeking Sweden’s help for greater EU market access

* Prime minister urges Stockholm’s increased participation in food processing, energy, infrastructure development sectors

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called upon Sweden to assist Pakistan in gaining greater access for its products to the European Union (EU) market. Gilani told visiting Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt that Sweden, which assumes the EU Presidency in July next year, could assist Pakistan by facilitating its inclusion in the EU’s Generalised System of Preference Plus scheme.

Helping Pakistan overcome financial troubles would also serve the two countries’ anti-terrorism agenda, he said. While expressing his gratitude for Sweden’s strong support for the restoration of democracy in Pakistan, the prime minister termed Sweden an important partner of Pakistan.

Gilani said with the restoration of democracy in Pakistan, the two countries could work towards enhancing bilateral ties through increased high-level exchanges, people to people contacts and co-operation in the trade, investment and technology transfer sectors.

Participation: He said the groundwork laid during the Pakistani commerce minister’s visit to Sweden must pave the way for increased participation of Swedish multinationals in the food processing, energy and infrastructure development sectors in Pakistan. Commenting on the current South Asian security situation, Gilani said Pakistan had assured India of its complete support for the investigation of the Mumbai attacks.

He said Pakistan had initiated action upon the United Nations resolution but was still awaiting the Indian government’s response to its sincere offers of forming a joint commission for probing the attacks. Carl Bildt, who served as the Swedish prime minister from 1991-1994, praised Pakistan’s reaction following the Mumbai terrorist attacks. He stressed the need of Pakistan and India working together to defuse the tension and bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice.

Bildt acknowledged no other country had suffered from terrorism than Pakistan and assured the prime minister of his country’s support in the EU. He said the Swedish corporate sector would be urged to consider Pakistan for investments and agreed to regular high-level exchanges for bringing the two countries closer. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and the Swedish ambassador to Pakistan were also present.

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