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EU desires to further strengthen bilateral ties with Pakistan

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on Friday expressed the European bloc’s desire to further strengthen its bilateral relationship with Pakistan.

She expressed these sentiments during a telephone call with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Ursula congratulated Shehbaz Sharif on assuming the office of the prime minister, according to an official statement.

The premier thanked her for the felicitations and stated that Pakistan greatly valued its relations with the European Union, which were based on shared values and common objectives of peace, prosperity and development.

Read more: Karzai hopes PM Shehbaz will engage positively with Afghanistan

The prime minister highlighted the importance of closer trade and investment ties between Pakistan and the EU. He appreciated the GSP Plus arrangement and underlined that, being a mutually beneficial scheme, it had played an important role in expansion of Pakistan-EU trade.

PM Shehbaz lauded Ursula von der Leyen’s stewardship of the EU Commission and underscored his resolve to further deepen mutual engagement. He also extended a cordial invitation to the European Commission president.

The two leaders agreed to stay in contact and work together to expand Pakistan-EU relations, intensify investment and trade cooperation, and enhance mutual cooperation between the two sides in diverse fields.

Last week, the United States had also congratulated Shehbaz on his election win, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Also read: Erdogan, Modi first to congratulate Shehbaz

“The United States views a strong, prosperous, and democratic Pakistan as essential for the interests of both of our countries,” Blinken said.

Soon after his election as prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif reiterated the need for cooperation with the United States.

“The new government wishes to constructively and positively engage with the US to promote shared goals of peace, security and development in the region,” the Prime Minister’s Office had said in response to a White House statement on Mr Sharif taking over as the new prime minister.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had earlier said that a democratic Pakistan was critical to US interests.

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