ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan held a telephonic conversation with United Kingdom PM Boris Johnson on Monday. The two leaders exchanged views on the current trajectory of bilateral relations, the Afghan peace process, the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.

During the call, the two leaders covered a range of issues, from the tragic train crash in Sindh that killed at least 40 people on Monday morning to the Pakistan-hosted World Environment Day event with the United Nations over the weekend. They also covered the fight against coronavirus and resolved to work together to defeat the pandemic globally.

“The prime minister [Johnson] began by expressing his condolences following the tragic loss of life in the train crash in Sindh,” said a Downing Street spokesperson.

“The leaders discussed the current situation in Afghanistan. They agreed on the need to ensure a long-term future of peace and stability in the country. The prime minister reiterated that the UK would continue to use the diplomatic and development tools at our disposal to support the government of Afghanistan,” the spokesperson said.

The PM thanked Boris Johnson for his thoughtful video message for the World Environment Day event held in Islamabad on 5 June 2021.  

Imran Khan expressed the hope that Pakistan and the UK would be able to forge an even stronger partnership going forward, particularly in the domains of trade and investments. The two leaders agreed on the importance of high-level exchanges between the two countries.  

The prime minister lauded the efforts of PM Boris Johnson in effectively combating the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. He also briefed his British counterpart on measures taken by Pakistan to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic while saving lives, securing livelihoods, and stimulating the economy. The PM impressed upon the UK to revisit the decision of placing Pakistan on the Red List of travel ban countries. 

On Afghanistan, Imran Khan reiterated Pakistan’s support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. The prime minister reiterated his longstanding stance that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a negotiated political solution was the only way forward. Underscoring the importance of a responsible withdrawal, the PM apprised his British counterpart of Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to support the Afghan peace process, as part of the shared responsibility. 

The two leaders also covered the need to “take action to cut carbon emissions and protect biodiversity” ahead of the UK-hosted COP26 Summit in Glasgow in November.

“The leaders also discussed the shared fight against coronavirus and resolved to work together to defeat the pandemic in our countries and around the world,” the spokesperson added.

Anas Mallick is an international journalist who has been working as a field reporter for 7+ years now. With a focus on diplomacy, militancy, and conflict, Mallick's expertise involve Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. He tweets at @AnasMallick

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