United States Deputy Secretary of State for Resources and Management calls on Prime Minister Gilani
Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has stressed that the future joint strategy for peace and stability in the region should ensure political and economic stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Core Group of Pakistan, USA and Afghanistan on peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, hence has the pivotal role in taking this process forward, he added.
The Prime Minister was talking to Mr. Thomas R. Nides, Deputy Secretary of State for Resources and Management who called on him at the Prime Minister’s House here today.
The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of strategic partnership between Pakistan and US and called for early resumption of strategic dialogue by scheduling the plenary session of its next round. The Prime Minister said that Pakistan desires to sustain the trajectory of its relationship only in the upward direction and was strongly committed to the fight against militancy and terrorism. Pakistan has made and is making sacrifices on a daily basis in terms of human lives in this war and that alone attest to its unwavering resolve to take this fight to its logical conclusion. He called for due recognition of Pakistan’s unparallel sacrifices.
The support and assistance of international community to Pakistan, he added, at this critical juncture would be essential. He emphasized that military action alone cannot be the solution of the present problems; reconciliation and dialogue have to be resorted to; international community and US in particular have to focus on socio-economic development in the militancy affected areas and provide political space to the democratic Government of Pakistan.
The Prime Minister identified the development of energy sector as the most immediate requirement of Pakistan and called on the US to channelize its economic assistance to the high visibility power projects in Pakistan which would help building of its image as well. While appreciating timely US generous assistance for the resettlement and rehabilitation of IDPs of Swat and for Pakistan’s flood affectees, the Prime Minister hoped that disbursement of KLB assistance would be fast-tracked and US would provide greater market access for Pakistani products by commencing negotiations on Free Trade Agreement and provision of generalize system of preferences for trade facilities.
Mr. Thomas R. Nides, US Deputy Secretary of State for Resources and Management termed US relations with Pakistan as critically important for peace in the region as well as imperative for the US national security. There is dire need, he stated, to work together to achieve the benefits of our bilateral strategic relations. He said the US Administration despite being under tremendous pressure for budgetary cuts, was doing its utmost to maintain the level of its economic assistance for Pakistan and had committed more than US $ 02 billion in the past eighteen months for undertaking the projects in Pakistan’s diverse sector particularly to help Pakistan overcome its energy shortages in the short and medium terms.
Referring to the series of visits from the US to Pakistan in past month, Mr. Nides expressed the satisfaction of US side that both the countries were engaged in the continuous dialogue and have moved forward with their strategic partnership. He agreed with the Prime Minister on the importance of greater market access for Pakistani products in USA markets and hoped that Pakistan’s Minister of State for Foreign and Economic Affairs would soon visit US for further discussions on the subject.
The meeting was attended by Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Finance, Syed Naveed Qamar, Minister for Water and Power, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Secretaries Ministry of Water and Power as well as Economic Affairs Division.
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