Qureshi stresses rebuilding Pak-US ties, due to meet Secretary Pompeo, NSA Adviser

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 (APP):Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan and the United States have been allies for long time and should rebuild that powerful relationship, as he is due to meet top US officials in Washington on Tuesday.

The Minister will meet National Security Adviser Ambassador John Bolton at the White House and will then head to the US State Department for a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had extended an invitation to the Minister during his visit to Islamabad in early September.

According to official sources, Foreign Minister Qureshi and Secretary Pompeo will discuss matters pertaining to bilateral relations as well as situation in the region.

Both sides have expressed desire to ‘reset’ the bilateral ties which have been tensed since early this year when President Trump suspended the security assistance to Pakistan, which has been on the forefront of fighting global terrorism.

Ahead of his Tuesday meeting, the Minister spoke to Fox News on Sunday and expressed Pakistan’s desire to “fix’ the relationship that has been mutually benefited to the two countries over the past several decades.

“I am not here to talk dollars and cents, I am not here seeking aid… I am here to fix a relationship that went sour – a relationship that has mutually-benefited both sides,” the Minister was quoted as saying by Fox News. “We have been allies for a long time, it is time to rebuild that powerful relationship.”

Mr. Qureshi arrived in Washington late on Sunday from New York, where he represented Pakistan at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly. He addressed the world body on Sept. 29, in which he underscored Pakistan’s efforts for regional peace and stability.

Replying to a question on Afghanistan, the Minister said that Pakistan was there to help and facilitate as “we recognize that a stable and peaceful Afghanistan is in our interest”.

Fox News quoted the minister as acknowledging the “soured’ relations between the two countries since President Trump took office, but made it clear that Pakistan was being unjustly blamed for situation in Afghanistan.

“When you are in a difficult situation you look for scapegoats, for areas and people and institutions that have not delivered to your expectations,” the Minister was quoted by the Fox News as saying, adding that Pakistan was there to help and facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan.

Besides meeting Secretray Pompeo and Ambassador Bolton, Foreign Minister Qureshi will also speak at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on the subject of Pakistan’s New Government: Change or Continuity in Foreign Policy, on Oct. 3. The Minister is also scheduled to hold meetings with members of US Congress.