Islamabad: Pakistan has called for closer engagement with the United States for stability in the South Asian region terming this approach “mutually beneficial.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi shared the view during his meeting with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York. This was the first in-person meeting between the two officials who have previously spoken on the phone several times to discuss Afghanistan situation.
The close engagement between Pakistan and the United States had always been a factor for stability in South Asia, Qureshi said. “Pakistan desires a balanced relationship with the United States that is anchored in trade, investment, energy and regional connectivity.”
Afghanistan dominated the talks but the two sides also discussed bilateral relationship, including the economic ties and cooperation in the region as a whole. The delegation level meetings were also attended by Pakistan’s UN envoy Munir Akram, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Dr Asad Majeed Khan and US chief negotiator and special representative on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad.
Blinken said that the US appreciated the work that Pakistan has done to facilitate the departure of American citizens and others from Kabul.
Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to facilitating efforts for an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan, stressing that only a stable and broad-based government in Afghanistan would be able to ensure that Afghan territory is never exploited by transnational terrorist groups ever again.
Pakistan has urged the international community to continue constructive engagement with Afghanistan’s leaders and stressed for timely mobilization of humanitarian assistance which Pakistan has been leading.
“While the Taliban should be held to their commitments, the international community has a moral obligation to help the Afghan people deal with the growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan,” said Qureshi. He hoped that the world would not repeat the mistake of disengaging with Afghanistan.
Following his in-person and virtual meetings with counterparts from Pakistan, China and Russia, US Secretary of State Blinken said at a press talk that he believed the international community remain united in its approach toward the Taliban. “There is very strong unity of approach and unity of purpose,” Blinken told reporters. “The Taliban says that it seeks legitimacy, that it seeks support from the international community; the relationship that it has with the international community is going to be defined by the actions it takes,” he said.
Pakistan’s foreign minister is in New York where he attended various high-level meetings including the D-8 Ministerial, has had bilateral meetings with UN High Commissioner for Refugees, EU High Representative, and his counterparts from the US, Japan, Finland, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Austria, Slovenia, Portugal, Norway, Ireland. PM Imran Khan will virtually address the UNGA summit on early September 25.