Looking forward to engaging bilaterally with SCO nations: Bilawal Bhutto

Karachi, May 4 (IANS) Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari departed for Goa on Thursday to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers meeting.

Ahead of his departure, Bilawal, the first Pakistani Foreign Minister to visit India in over a decade, said that he was looking forward to “engaging bilaterally” countries that were part of the SCO, reports Dawn news.

“On my way to Goa, India. Will be leading the Pakistan delegation at the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers. My decision to attend this meeting illustrates Pakistan’s strong commitment to the charter of SCO,” he said on Twitter.

“During my visit, which is focused exclusively on the SCO, I look forward to constructive discussions with my counterparts from friendly countries,” he said.

In a video message alongside his tweet, the Foreign Minister also stated that he was looking forward to “engaging bilaterally” with countries that were part of the organisation, Dawn reported.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for Foreign Office (FO) said that Bilawal had departed for Goa from Karachi.

Details of the delegation accompanying the Foreign Minister were not immediately available.

Bilawal’s trip will be the first visit to India by a Foreign Minister of Pakistan since July 2011, when then-foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar visited for peace talks.

Pakistan has already made it clear that the Foreign Minister will not hold any bilateral meeting with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar while in Goa.

Bilawal has also dismissed speculation surrounding his upcoming trip, saying it should not be interpreted as a sign of improved bilateral ties between the two neighbouring countries, Dawn reported.

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