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Austrian FM mentions Afghanistan, Russian war during business visit to Pakistan.


Foreign Minister of Austria Alexander Schallenberg, who is on a four-day visit to Pakistan, holds meetings with his counterpart and PM Imran Khan to discuss a whole range of bilateral matters as well as regional and global issues.


STORY: Foreign Minister of Austria Alexander Schallenberg, who arrived on a four-day visit to Pakistan said on Thursday (March 17) that he held a meeting with his counterpart where the two sides discussed a whole range of bilateral matters as well as regional and global issues.

Addressing a joint news conference along with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad, the Austrian foreign minister said Pakistan had made an immense contribution towards ensuring peace and stability in the region.

He said Pakistan had taken effective steps in eradicating terrorism and restoring peace in Afghanistan.  

With the Russian war in Ukraine, he said a new world order was in the making, adding that the situation could lead to a crisis.

“We met last September at the time when Afghanistan was very much in the focus of attention. I think we have to watch out and not to lose focus that you know that the attention of international media, social media tend to have only on one subject at a time but let us not forget there are many crisis areas, many things and developments we have to have very closer watch over and Afghanistan is one of them. And I want to thank Pakistan for the very valuable help they have extended to us that we had to evacuate our citizens and other people who had to come out of Afghanistan during the crisis last year. And yes, we do have a common approach. We want security and stability in Afghanistan. We are facing a situation that Europe is at war, again. And Filippo Grandi of the UNHCR said that probably this is the biggest migration movement the world has seen after the Second World War,”he said.

“And we have to watch out that the new world order which might be developing that it is still a rules-based order. World will be more confrontational and I believe that no country will be indifferent to them”

Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the Ukraine conflict was ‘not a European war’ and many countries had started feeling its effects.

“They will hurt economically. Obviously they will hurt economically. Europe is going to hurt economically. We are going to hurt economically. What the foreign minister said and I agree with him. If there is no cessation of hostilities, this war could spread, and I fear it will spread. And I do agree the implications of this war are beyond Europe. We here in Pakistan are already feeling the pinch, of rising prices of petroleum,”he said.

Schallenberg said Austria was keen to explore the South Asian trade markets and added that his visit would open up a new era of his country’s relations with Pakistan.

He mentioned that during his meeting with FM Qureshi, several areas of importance including trade, climate change, and green energy came under discussion.

Qureshi mentioned the excellent investment opportunities available for Austrian companies in Pakistan in the fields of renewable energy, tourism, housing, agriculture, and information technology.

He hoped that Austria would continue to support Pakistan in the fourth biennial review of GSP + status this year.

Later in the day, Schallenberg called on the Prime Minister Imran Khan.  

According to PM office, the focus was on bilateral relations, regional situation and international issues. The Austrian Foreign Minister thanked the Prime Minister for receiving him and informed that he was accompanied by a big business delegation. He conveyed greetings of the Federal Chancellor of Austria.

The Prime Minister emphasized that Pakistan highly valued its long-standing and cordial relations with Austria. Pakistan desired to add further substance to its excellent bilateral cooperation across the broad range -- including trade, investment, higher education, IT, tourism, climate change, and so on.

The Prime Minister expressed Pakistan’s serious concern at the conflict in Ukraine and stressed the imperative of finding a diplomatic solution. He underscored that Pakistan upholds the fundamental principles of the UN Charter.  

In the regional context, the Prime Minister emphasized that the world’s attention must not shift from Afghanistan and that urgent steps were needed to be taken to prevent humanitarian and economic crises in Afghanistan.  

The Austrian foreign minister is also expected to meet other dignitaries during his visit. A business roundtable is being organised where Austrian and Pakistani businessmen will get an opportunity to discuss prospective business opportunities.

The Austrian foreign minister would undertake a visit to Lahore, the Foreign Office statement said.

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