ISLAMABAD, Jul 9 (APP):F oreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Friday received a telephone call from US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken, wherein the two sides stressed the need for continuing close coordination and cooperation to ensure meaningful progress in the Afghan peace process.
Both the sides discussed bilateral relations and important developments in the region, according to Foreign Office statement.
On bilateral relations, the foreign minister emphasized Pakistan’s commitment to forging a broad-based, long-term and sustainable relationship with the United States that was anchored in deep economic cooperation, regional connectivity and peace in the region.
He highlighted Pakistan’s focus on geo-economics as per the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and reiterated the importance of enhancing economic, trade and investment ties between Pakistan and the United States.
As regards the situation in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Qureshi stressed that there was a fundamental convergence between Pakistan and the United States on the need for a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan.
He highlighted the steps Pakistan had taken in support of the Afghan peace process.
Qureshi underscored that securing peace in Afghanistan was the shared responsibility of all stakeholders inside Afghanistan as well as key regional and international players.
The foreign minister said it was imperative for all relevant stakeholders to press all Afghan parties to engage constructively towards achieving an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement. For its part, Pakistan will remain a reliable partner for peace in Afghanistan, he added.
US State Department Spokesman Ned Price, in a statement in Washington, said the two leaders “underscored the shared desire for a stable and sustainable bilateral relationship.”
“The Secretary and the Foreign Minister discussed the importance of continued US-Pakistan
cooperation on the Afghanistan peace process following the visit to the United States by Afghan President (Ashraf) Ghani and Chairman (Abdullah) Abdullah.”
Blinken’ call followed President Joe Biden’s important address to the nation Thursday in which he defended his decision to withdraw the US troops from Afghanistan, despite the Taliban’s rapid territorial gains in recent weeks.
In a White House address, Biden said all combat troops would leave Afghanistan by August 31, even earlier than the September 11 deadline he set back in April.
On Wednesday, at the State Department regular press briefing , Spokesman Ned Price called Pakistan “an important partner” in various fronts and said both the countries had shared interests in peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan has been helpful in – recently when it comes to this shared interest. Our shared interests go well beyond that: broader counterterrorism interests as well, not to mention the people-to-people ties that unite our two countries,” the spokesman said in response to a question at the daily news briefing.
The United States, he said, was going to work very closely to ensure that Afghanistan’s neighbours play a constructive role in promoting a peaceful settlement.
Also on Wednesday at an event at the United States Institute for Peace (USIP), Pakistani Ambassador to the United States that Pakistan, Asad Majeed Khan, had facilitated the Afghan peace process and that an inclusive political settlement in the war-torn country would best serve Washington-Islamabad shared security interests in the region.
In his remarks on Friday, Spokesman Ned Price also said that Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Qureshi also highlighted joint efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, including the United States’ 2.5 million Moderna vaccines.
The two sides also exchanged views on regional connectivity and other key issues.