Italy reiterates support to Pakistan's case for FTA with EU

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Islamabad, May 22 (UNI) Italy has strongly supported Pakistan's case for Free Trade Agreement(FTA) with the European Union(EU) and given assurance to encourage its investment in the country.

Addressing a news conference with Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri here today, visiting Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said Pakistan should consider his country as an ally on the FTA issue.

Referring to EU's FTA with India he said, there should not be double standards in the region and EU should consider Pakistan's aspiration seriously.

On Afghanistan, Mr D'Alema said Kabul should focus on national reconciliation and reconstruction to isolate terrorist elements.

Italy is organising G-8 summit together with Pakistan and Afghanistan to help promote peace and stability in the region, he said.

Italy would also be hosting an international conference on rule of law in Afghanistan in the first week of July this year and hoped that a high level delegation from Pakistan would attend the moot, he added.

Foreign Minister Kasuri said during their talks the two countries agreed to take tangible measures for further strengthening of commercial relations to their mutual benefit.

He said they are keen to further expand relations in all areas especially trade and commerce, defence, higher education, energy, agriculture and information technology.

Mr Kasuri said he briefed Mr Massimo about Pakistan's economic turn around and the lucrative opportunities for investment in a host of areas.

The two countries have agreed to enhance cooperation within the European Union and Pakistan has emphasised the need for equitable market access for itself within the EU through a FTA or a similar mechanism.

The Foreign Minister said he also updated his Italian counterpart on the composite dialouge process with India and his country's efforts to build peace and prosperity in South Asia .

Pakistan and Italy also discussed ongoing cooperation on the important issue of UN reforms where they share similar perceptions - expansion in non-permanent category of security council.

They agreed to instruct their Permanent Representatives to the UN to further strengthen cooperation for a more democratic and effective international order.

Mr D'Alema said his country shares Pakistan 's stand on UN reforms especially expansion of permanent membership of the Security Council.

Like Pakistan his country is also against increase in permanent seats and wants more regional representation in the Security Council, he added.


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