The Pakistani and the Romanian Foreign Ministers,
during their meeting in Bucharest. Source: www.mae.ro
On January 9th, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, His Excellency Mr. Makhdoom Qureshi, started his two-day official visit in Bucharest, Romania, part of a larger European tour, which includes a visit to Spain, at the invitation of Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares Bueno from January 10th -12th.
During the visit, His Excellency met with Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă, Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu, Minister of Economy Adrian Câciu, Member of Parliaments, and overseas Pakistanis. Mr. Qureshi visited Bucharest at the invitation of the Romanian Foreign Minister. Both sides agreed to increase bilateral cooperation in trade and investment, defense, education, and other areas of mutual interest.
The Romanian prime minister underlined the good bilateral relations and the prospects for their expansion and consolidation in the future, welcoming the visit of the head of Pakistani diplomacy in Bucharest.
This was the first official visit to Romania by a Pakistani foreign minister, after a break of more than two decades, and took place in the context of a positive dynamic recently recorded in Romanian-Pakistani relations, also following the great support that Pakistan offered to Romania in the evacuation of its own citizens, other allied nationals and 156 at-risk Afghan citizens in August and September 2021.
Pakistan’s foreign minister called on the Romanian Prime Minister and highlighted the historical and cordial relations between Pakistan and Romania. His Excellency also thanked him for the donation of 500,000 COVID vaccine doses, meant to be delivered to Pakistan in the near future.
While addressing in a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu, Mr. Qureshi said a huge potential existed for the Romanian investors in not only promoting the bilateral trade ties, but also from the prospects of Pakistan being a hub of exports to Central Asia, as the new markets were now being opened up for the world. Mr. Qureshi added that Pakistan was building an economic corridor with China, and the construction of Gwadar Port would open the world to the landlocked Central Asian Republics and Afghanistan.
His Excellency said great opportunities existed between the two countries to further develop understanding as it was the right time to move ahead.
According to the Romanian counterpart, the bilateral trade between the two countries increased by around 50.6 per cent during the last fiscal year, despite the COVID challenge. However, it was not near the real potential in the context of their bilateral ties and the trade opportunities with the European Union, he observed.
Mr. Qureshi declared that Pakistan was in an advantageous position. With GSP+ status, they felt that it had been mutually beneficial for both the EU and Pakistan. “Pakistan has been an important trader of the EU and Pakistan has a very important relationship with the EU and its members,” he added.
Moreover, the Pakistani foreign minister said Pakistan and Romania enjoyed excellent diplomatic ties spanning over 58 years and had been supporting each other at multilateral levels. “I want to acknowledge that besides excellent bilateral relations and goodwill to each other, our exchanges are frequent. I am here with a very determined view to initiate a new era in our bilateral ties,” Mr. Qureshi stated, while expressing the optimism that his visit would set a new tone for the new era of bilateral relations.
During the meeting with the Minister of Economy of Romania, Mr. Qureshi attended the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and the Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) at the Ministry of Economy in Romania. The private sector was and would be a driving force in growing the bilateral trade ties between Pakistan and Romania, while urging Romanian investors and businessmen to take advantage of the huge trade and investment opportunities in Pakistan.
Moreover, Mr. Qureshi interacted with the members of European and Romanian Parliaments at a dinner hosted by the Pakistani Embassy in Bucharest. Also, the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Romania attended the signing ceremony of a MoU in the field of education for scholarship exchanges between the Polytechnic University of Romania and the University of Islamabad.