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Pakistan foreign Minister visit to Australia.

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FA66 12 May 2005


I welcome the visit by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri to Australia from 11 to 15 May. This is the first visit by a Foreign Minister from Pakistan since 1959, and reflects the warm relations between our two countries. We agreed to establish regular consultations between our two foreign ministries.

Pakistan is at the front line of the campaign to fight terrorism. We welcome the measures Pakistan has taken to move against terrorist groups operating within Pakistan, particularly those in the border region with Afghanistan. Australia and Pakistan will now work to finalise a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on Counter-Terrorism.

During my meeting with Mr Kasuri on 11 May, we discussed ways to assist Pakistan to improve its agricultural industry - a key sector in Pakistan’s economy and one of Australia’s strengths.

I am pleased to announce that three new AusAID Australian Development Scholarships will be provided for Pakistani postgraduates to study agriculture in Australia. These are in addition to fifteen post graduate scholarships provided annually by the Australian government for Pakistani specialists to study governance, natural resource management, education and health.

Study in Australia by Pakistani students is a key dimension of our expanding people-to-people links. Pakistan has an important place in Australia’s student visa program. Student numbers have steadily increased over the last four years with 1,300 Pakistani students in Australia at present.

These people-to-people links and our longstanding commercial and trade relationship form a constructive basis to further strengthen bilateral relations in coming years.

Media enquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 DFAT Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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