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Ashton Launches Strategic Dialogue With Islamabad

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (left) and Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar at a joint press conference in Islamabad on June 5
The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has held talks with Pakistan's foreign minister to launch a "strategic dialogue" aimed at boosting economic, security, and political ties.

Ashton and Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani, meeting in Islamabad on June 5, expressed optimism about future relations between the EU and Pakistan.

Ashton said the two sides are “close to implementing the preferential trade agreement and Pakistani products will get Generalized System of Preferences Plus status into the EU markets."

Ashton said the EU was aware of challenges faced by Pakistan and was working for long-term and durable ties.

The EU is Pakistan's biggest trading partner, with more than 8.3 billion euros in bilateral trade.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters