Remarks by Sartaj Aziz, Head of Pakistan Delegation at the Plenary Session II of the 11th ASEM Summit Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Islamabad, July 15, 2016 (PPI-OT):On behalf of the Government of Pakistan and on my own behalf, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Government of Mongolia for its generous hospitality and excellent arrangements for this Summit. I would also like to congratulate all member countries on the auspicious occasion of the twentieth anniversary of ASEM.

In the past 20 years, since ASEM was launched, the world has become increasingly interdependent and many global multilateral and regional institutions have been striving hard to promote peace, ensure political stability and enhance human progress in all parts of the world. But these efforts are today overshadowed by a large number geo political conflicts, growing threats of violent extremism, forcible displacement of 60 million people, accelerated environmental degradation and rising inequality. As a result there is widespread pessimism among the common people about the present system of global governance.

In this challenging and complex world, we do occasionally hear good news that revive our hope in the future: elimination of chemical weapons from Syria, the Iranian nuclear deal, the landmark agreement on climate change, new rules for global peacekeeping and the consensus on Sustainable Development Goals for the next 15 years.

How can we build on these successful multilateral efforts and overcome the more complex global challenges? That is the question before this Summit. May I offer three suggestions:

One: Learning from our mistakes. If we look deeper, we will find that many of the problems we face today are the indirect consequences of past policies or initiatives that were launched for certain objectives that are no longer important.

Second: Addressing root causes of conflicts, specially longstanding disputes that spread desperation and lead to violent reactions. Recent tragic events in Jammu and Kashmir and Palestine are example of such failures.

Promoting the culture of compromise, by giving greater importance to collective interests of humanity as a whole, as long as they do not adversely affect vital national interests.

ASEM has made a good choice in emphasizing on Connectivity at this important Summit. It provides ASEM an area of interest with tremendous scope of growth in both Asia and Europe. In this regard, Pakistan welcomes China’s proposal of establishing a Working Group on Connectivity. We hope that the Working Group will come up with practical proposals for enhancing connectivity specially cyber connectivity between the two continents and their people.

The concept of connectivity, we believe, should not be confined to building roads, rails, air links or ports. It should include soft connectivity i.e. sharing of ideas, knowledge, information technology, culture, and unified action to tackle issues of common concerns.

My Chairman,

On its part, Pakistan is committed to enhancing regional connectivity through improvements in its transport, trade logistics and energy sectors. The flagship project in this regard is China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), linking Western China to Pakistani ports on the Arabian Sea. It is a potential game changer for the region as it could be a catalyst for economic activity and integration with Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. It would benefit around three billion people of the region.

Energy connectivity to integrate surplus energy resources of Central Asia with large energy markets of South Asia, is also on our agenda. Two projects, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline and Central Asia South Asia (CASA-1000) electricity project are already under implementation. TAPI will bring natural gas from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

It take this opportunity to inform this august gathering that as part of our commitment to support connectivity initiatives, Pakistan co-sponsored ASEM Media Dialogue on Connectivity, held in Guangzhou in May this year, Pakistan will continue to work with ASEM in realizing its objectives and promoting cooperation and harmony between Asia and Europe.

I thank you all.

For more information, contact:
Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Ch
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tell: +92-51-9205494
Fax: +92-51-9204202
Cell: +92-336-5644459