P.M. Khan says he shared concerns over economic impact of Russian invasion during phone call with European Council President Charles Michel
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said that European Council President Charles Michel had agreed with him that countries like Pakistan could play a “facilitating role” in helping resolve the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
“Earlier today I spoke with E.U. Council President Charles Michel about the Ukraine situation,” he said in a posting on Twitter. “Shared concern over continued military conflict, highlighted its adverse economic impact on developing countries, stressed urgent need for ceasefire and de-escalation,” he added.
According to the prime minister, he had emphasized the importance of humanitarian relief and reiterated calls for a solution to the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy. “We agreed that countries like Pakistan could play a facilitating role in this endeavor,” he said. “I look forward to close engagement to promote shared objectives,” he added.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said that the European leader had conveyed his condolences on the 63 people who had lost their lives in a suicide attack on a mosque in Peshawar last week. It said that the prime minister had emphasized on Pakistan’s principled position that it would only be a partner for peace, adding he had also underlined that Islamabad had friendly ties with both Moscow and Kiev, and had remained in close contact with both sides.
Underscoring the importance Pakistan attaches to its relations with the E.U., Khan also conveyed that he was looking forward to his visit to Brussels to meet the E.U. leadership, and extended an invitation to Michel to visit Pakistan.
In a posting on Twitter, Michel noted that the Russia-Ukraine conflict “threatens multilateral order, international cooperation and economic development.” He said achieving a ceasefire, “establishing humanitarian corridors and preventing further loss of lives is of the utmost urgency.”
The phone call between the European Council president and the Pakistani prime minister followed Khan slamming the E.U. and its envoys for a letter that was publicized last week in which they had urged Pakistan to formally condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “E.U. ambassadors wrote a letter to Pakistan, asking us to issue an anti-Russia statement. I ask E.U. ambassadors: did you write that letter to India as well?” he said during a public rally in which he also questioned if the West considered Pakistanis their “slaves” who would do whatever was asked of them.
The fiery speech has attracted controversy, with critics stressing that a prime minister should not issue statements that could be perceived as policy decisions. Underlining that such commentary could harm Pakistan’s national interest and its geopolitical ties, they have maintained that more care must be taken during public gatherings.