Pakistan, Australia hold Senior Official & Trade Talks; discuss multi sphere cooperation

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Australia held Senior Officials Talks (SOTs) and Trade Talks wherein the two sides exchanged views on cooperation in multiple fields, including economy, trade and counter-terrorism.

Additional Foreign Secretary (Asia-Pacific) Mumtaz Zahra Baloch led the Pakistan side in the 8th Session of Senior Officials Talks held on Thursday while the Australian side was led by First Assistant Secretary for North and South Asia, Gary Cowan.

The delegations had a comprehensive exchange of views on bilateral cooperation, including high-level exchanges, cooperation in political, economic, development, science & technology, education, defence, security & counter-terrorism, migration and climate change, a Foreign Office press release said.

The two sides also briefed each other on their respective foreign policy priorities and discussed cooperation in multilateral settings.

The additional secretary briefed the Australian side on the regional situation in South Asia, including the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, and the grave and systematic violations of human rights in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

Australia-Pakistan Trade Talks were also held here on the same day.

The Pakistan side was led by Additional Secretary (Trade Diplomacy) Ahsan Ali Mangi of the Ministry of Commerce while First Assistant Secretary for North and South Asia Gary Cowan led the Australian side.

The two sides discussed bilateral trade and investment matters with a special focus on cooperation in agriculture and information & communication technology.

Enhanced trade access and issues relating to mutual protection of intellectual property rights, especially Geographical Indicators for basmati rice, were also discussed.