Pakistan, EU to launch strategic dialogue next week

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Pakistan and the European Union will launch strategic dialogue next week, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
Baroness Catherine Ashton, EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy and vice president of the European Commission will be visiting Islamabad to launch the Pakistan-EU Strategic Dialogue from June 4 to 6, a Foreign Ministry statement said.
The Pakistan side will be led by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.
The strategic dialogue is being launched in pursuance of the decision taken at the First Pakistan-EU Summit held in 2009. The dialogue will provide for modalities to implement the Pakistan-EU Five-Year Engagement Plan concluded in January 2012.
Ashton’s visit will provide an opportunity to reiterate Pakistan’s interest for inclusion in the GSP+ and early implementation of the package of Autonomous Trade Preferences (ATPs) for Pakistan, the Foreign Ministry said.
“The strategic dialogue will provide the two foreign ministers an opportunity to identify ways and means to further raise the level of bilateral cooperation and discuss regional and international issues of mutual interest.”
During her stay in Islamabad, she will call on the prime minister. Her programme also includes a visit to Lahore and a meeting with the Punjab governor.
“The visit of Lady Ashton will further enhance the existing relations between the EU and Pakistan,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The EU and Pakistan last year signed a Multi-year Indicative Program (MIP) for 2011-2013. Under the MIP, the EU would provide 225 million Euros for rural development, education, health and governance, the statement said.