Pakistan genuinely concerned about role accorded to India in SA Strategy : Asif

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APP66-06 WASHINGTON: October 06 - Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif interacting with the US and international media at the Embassy of Pakistan. APP

ISLAMABAD, Oct. 6 (APP): Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has said that his meeting with Secretary Tillerson was an important interaction after President Trump announced US South Asia Strategy on August 21.
At his interaction with US & Foreign Media at the Embassy
late night, he told the media that after the announcement of
this South Asia Strategy, the bilateral relationship between
Pakistan and the US has taken a new turn.
” If on one hand, US has its concerns about the future of
Afghanistan, Pakistan seeks recognition of its legitimate
security concerns in the region. We are genuinely concerned
with regard to the role accorded in the Strategy to India in
general and its efforts, geared to destabilization in
Balochistan, in particular.”
He informed that he was visiting Washington DC at the
invitation of Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson with whom
he had a most cordial and useful meeting.
“My visit is essentially in follow-up to Prime Minister
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s meeting with Vice President Mike
Pence on the sidelines of UNGA on September 19, 2017.”
Pakistan greatly values its relationship with the US in
seven-decade long history of result-oriented cooperation,
he said in his opening remarks. “We want to build a
relationship founded on mutual respect. We firmly believes
that through consistent, structured and constructive
engagement, at political and diplomatic levels, both
the countries can continue to work together for the common goal of peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia.”
“We also see enormous investment and business opportunities in Pakistan for corporate America, particularly after Pakistan’s remarkable successes in war against terror and significant reduction in terrorist incidents in the country, he said.
However, he added, “Pakistan believes that unless there is
stability in Afghanistan, the dividends of peace in the
region would continue to elude us.” To achieve that goal
both US and Pakistan need to work closely, he stressed.
“On our part, we have completely wiped out all the
hideouts used by terrorists and anti-state elements.
However, this is an ongoing process with continuing
intelligence based operations by law enforcement agencies
across the country,” he added.
“We have offered candid cooperation to Afghanistan during
the recent visit of COAS and Foreign Secretary to Kabul where they had successful and productive meetings with President Ashraf Ghani, the CEO Abdullah and others in the Afghan hierarchy,” he said.
Pakistan is extremely concerned about safe havens of
terrorists who are mostly operating from ungoverned spaces
in Afghanistan which are more than 40% of the total area of
the country, he added.
Substantiating his plea, he said a number of terrorist
attacks in Pakistan in recent months have been traced back
to these elements operating from these bases in Afghanistan.
“I would like to reiterate that Pakistan will continue to
play its positive role in bringing peace to the region
through measures agreed upon by all relevant stakeholders.
We believe that a political approach characterized by an
Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process will yield durable
peace in the interest of Afghanistan and the broader
region.”
He said, ” In our renewed efforts towards establishing
regional peace, we hope that the international media,
particularly the US media will play a positive role and
reflect Pakistan’s changing realities in its
reporting.”
He also invited the media luminaries gathered there to
visit Pakistan with a view to acquiring a first-hand
experience of the fast changing reality in the country.