No Sharif-Obama meeting on UN general assembly sidelines

Sep 21, 2013| Courtesy by : dawn.com

dawn.com ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif will visit New York from Sept 23 to 29 to lead Pakistan’s delegation to attend the General Assembly Session of the United Nations, the foreign office said Thursday.

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However, he said that a much-awaited formal meeting between the Pakistani premier and US President Barack Obama will not take place on the sidelines of the session due to paucity of time.

In a weekly briefing at the Foreign Office in Islamabad, spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said both Islamabad and Washington are still in touch for a formal meeting between Sharif and Obama in the coming months.

Chaudhry said Sharif would address the general assembly session on Sept 27 to highlight Pakistan’s foreign policy guide lines, its point of view on various regional and international issues besides domestic priorities.

The spokesman said the prime minister in his address will also dilate on the efforts of the present government to curb the menace of terrorism besides its endeavor to bring stability to the region.

He said during his weeklong stay in the New York, the Prime Minister will also hold bilateral meetings with world leaders on the sidelines of the session. He will discuss various bilateral and regional issues with these leaders, he added. The spokesman said it is expected that the prime minister will also attend various events during his stay in New York including high level meetings on millennium development goals, sustainable development and nuclear disarmament.

Replying to a question he said both the governments of India and Pakistan are also engaged to arrange a meeting of the prime ministers of the two countries in New York.

He said that both the leaders are expected to consider ways to resume dialogue between the two neighbours to resolve all outstanding issues.

When asked about a recent incident in which Afghan security forces reportedly fired into a Pakistani border area, the spokesperson said Pakistan is deeply concerned over the incident.

He said the Charge D’affaires of Afghanistan in Islamabad was summoned to Foreign Office and Pakistan’s sentiments on the incident were conveyed to him.

He said Pakistan has asked the Afghan government to investigate the matter and respect the existing coordination mechanisms to avoid recurrence of such incidents in future.

He expressed the confidence that this incident will not affect the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Speaking on the release of Afghan Taliban detainees, he said the Pakistani government has decided in principle to release Mullah Baradar at an appropriate time. He said the purpose of releasing the Taliban detainees was to contribute to the reconciliation process.

He said the Taliban detainees were released on the request of the Afghan government adding that Pakistan would continue to take steps for the success of reconciliation process.

Replying to a question, the spokesman termed the recent visit of the Prime Minister to Turkey as successful and positive in which he held constructive talks with the Turkish leadership on various issues.

He said that twelve important bilateral agreements in various fields were also signed for boosting their cooperation.