Pakistan, US agree to continue discussions on bilateral relations, regional peace

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and United States have agreed to continue discussions on all matters of mutual interest for bilateral cooperation and peace in the region.

The understanding came during delegation level talks in Islamabad on Thursday.

US Interagency delegation was led by Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for South Asia Ms. Lisa Curtis. Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua led the Pakistani side.

Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador Alice Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defence, David Helvey and other senior officials from Departments of State, Defence and the US Embassy in Islamabad were among the delegation.

Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua led the Pakistani side which included senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant departments.

The two sides reviewed the State of play in the relationship in wake of the US strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia and agreed to continue discussions on all matters of mutual interest.

Reiterating Pakistan’s stance for a politically negotiated settlement owned and led by the Afghans, Foreign Secretary reaffirmed Pakistan’s constructive participation in all regional and bilateral mechanisms aimed at pursuing a peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict.

The US delegation was also informed on the recent visit by Pakistani officials to Kabul with a view to intensify engagement and addressing mutual concerns particularly border management and repatriation of refugees.

Highlighting Pakistan’s ongoing law enforcement and CT campaign, the Foreign Secretary apprised the US delegation of Pakistan’s efforts in eliminating terrorism from the Pakistani soil. Pakistan’s concerns on continued attacks from across the border were also shared.

The US delegation was informed about the atrocities and human rights violations being committed by the Indian forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir resulting in hundreds of casualties. It was noted that persistent Indian refusal to engage with Pakistan despite Pakistan’s repeated overtures for a comprehensive dialogue was adversely impacting regional stability.

Noting that US had a long track record of cooperation with Pakistan, the US delegation emphasized the importance of reinvigorating the bilateral relationship in order to achieve the common objectives of peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region. The two sides agreed to continue bilateral engagements at all levels.

The US delegation also paid a courtesy call on the Foreign Minister.