WASHINGTON, Dec.6(APP): Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken has appreciated efforts made by Pakistan to promote peace and stability in South Asia, while expressing concern over the increasing tension at Line of Control.
The US officials made these remarks during a meeting with Syed Tariq
Fatemi, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister at the US State Department. Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Jalil Abbas Jilani was also present at the meeting.
The meeting noted that Pakistan’s participation in the Heart of Asia
Conference held in India on December 4, and its earlier pledge at the Brussels Conference to provide $500 million for development projects in Afghanistan were concrete and positive steps reflecting Pakistan’s commitment to peace and prosperity of its western neighbour.
The Deputy Secretary of State also praised the generosity of Pakistan in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for over four decades and expressed appreciation on the recent decision to extend the deadline for the repatriation of these refugees.
During the meeting, the regional situation also came under discussion,
including the escalation across the Line of Control and the Working Boundary. Mr. Fatemi briefed the Deputy Secretary on the frequency of ceasefire violations by India in recent weeks with particular reference to targeting of civilians across the LoC.
He said that the massive and systematic human rights violations in the
Occupied Kashmir were resulting in hundreds of casualties and debilitating injuries to the civilians including women and children.
While expressing concern on the increasing escalation at the LoC, Deputy Secretary Blinken reiterated the US position on the need for reducing tension in South Asia and promoting closer cooperation and dialogue between the two largest countries of the region.
The meeting reviewed the bilateral relations between Pakistan and the
United States, with two sides expressing satisfaction on several achievements in areas of peace and security, counter terrorism, defense and economic cooperation.
It was agreed that Pakistan-US relationship was important to regional as well as global peace and security and should continue to be strengthened under the next Administration.
Mr. Fatemi conveyed the message of goodwill from Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif and the people of Pakistan on the recently held elections in the US. He expressed the hope that after the completion of ongoing transition process, the two sides would resume their regular engagement on the bilateral track.
The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs is in Washington on the first high level visit from Pakistan after the November elections in the United States.