Pakistan, US announce to resume strategic dialogue

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United States have announced resumption of their strategic dialogue to further deepen their partnership in various fields.

This was announced by the Prime Minister’s adviser on foreign affairs and national security Sartaj Aziz and the US Secretary of State John Kerry while addressing a joint press conference in Islamabad on Thursday after a series of meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other Pakistani leadership.

Aziz said that Pakistan wants to enhance trade and investment relations with the United States besides seeking its cooperation in promotion of education. He hoped that the resumption of strategic dialogue will lead to expand cooperation in various fields.

The premier’s advisor said Pakistan wants greater market access to the United States with a focus to increase trade volume up to eleven billion dollars. He said Pakistan wants more US direct foreign investment to revive its economy.

He said Pakistan is working to maintain good relations with all its neighbors including Afghanistan. He said Pakistan will fully assist foreign forces withdrawal from Afghanistan next year besides supporting Afghan-led reconciliation process to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan has asked the United States to change its policy on drone attacks which are not only in violation of its sovereignty but also have been proved as counter-productive.

While speaking at the press conference, US Secretary of State John Kerry referred to the invitation he extended, during his visit to Pakistan, to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit the United States for talks with President Barack Obama later this year which was accepted by the Prime Minister.

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Kerry termed dialogue with Pakistani leadership as positive and constructive and hope these will lead to further expansion of bilateral relations. He said we discussed all issues of mutual concern including Afghanistan‚ terrorism and cooperation in energy and education sectors.

He said his country wants long-term and strong relationship with Pakistan on level. He said both the countries witness some differences in past few years in their relations but hope resumption of strategic dialogue will help bridge the gap.

The US Secretary of State said the United States fully respects Pakistan’s sovereignty and wants deep-rooted relations with it on the basis of mutual respect and interest.

To a question, Kerry said both the sides have agreed to continue dialogue to review the policy of drone attacks.

Kerry applauded Pakistan’s role for bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan acknowledging the sacrifices of Pakistani security forces in the war against terrorism. He also appreciated Pakistan’s role for bringing Taliban on dialogue table to promote reconciliation in Afghanistan.

He said his country is working for resumption of four important trade routes between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Moreover, John Kerry stressed the need for improved Pak-India trade relations which will yield positive impact on the whole region as both the countries have enormous trade opportunities.

Kerry said the US will extend full support to Pakistan in overcoming power crisis including construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam.

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