ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, leading a delegation, left for Cambodia for the 29th ministerial meeting of ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) being held in Phnom Penh from August 4-6, 2022.
The meeting will be attended by foreign ministers and representatives of the 27 ARF member countries and the ASEAN Secretary General. Since joining the ARF in 2004, Pakistan has been an active member of the forum and regularly participates in its activities.
In a statement before his departure, the foreign minister said the visit would give him an opportunity to put across Pakistan’s views at the meeting and also a chance to hold bilateral meetings with other ASEAN members.
However, the Foreign Office, while announcing the visit, did not indicate with whom these bilateral meetings have been set up. “In Phnom Penh, the foreign minister will also meet with prime minister and foreign minister of Cambodia and have bilateral meetings with a number of his counterparts on the sidelines”, said the spokesman.
Others who are attending include Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian Minister for External Affairs Dr S Jaishanker, who has already arrived. “At the ARF Ministerial meeting, the foreign minister will participate in deliberations on political and security issues of concern to Asia-Pacific aimed at promoting common solutions through dialogue and cooperation”, said the foreign minister.
Established in 1994, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is an important platform for consultations among countries of the Asia Pacific on issues related to regional peace and security. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was received by Dr Hasan Mahmud, minister for Information and Broadcasting of Bangladesh, during his brief stopover at Chittagong. The two ministers also exchanged books from each other’s countries as gifts.
The Pakistani foreign minister stayed for around 40 minutes at the airport. During his transit in Chittagong, he conveyed his compliments and message of goodwill to the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr AK Abdul Momen and the people of Bangladesh, the release added.