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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on Friday, underscored the need for a "stable and sustainable" bilateral relationship between Pakistan and the US.

Amid the US drawdown from Afghanistan and worsening security situation in the war-torn country, Foreign Minister Qureshi received a telephone call from Secretary Blinken.

"They discussed bilateral relations and important developments in the region," Foreign Office said in a statement.

On bilateral relations, Qureshi emphasised 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, the foreign minister stressed that there was a fundamental convergence between Pakistan and the United States on the need for a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan. The foreign minister highlighted the steps Pakistan had taken in support of the Afghan peace process.

Foreign Minister Qureshi underscored that securing peace in Afghanistan was the shared responsibility of all stakeholders inside Afghanistan as well as key regional and international players.

"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," Qureshi was quoted as having told his US counterpart.

For its part, Pakistan will remain a reliable partner for peace in Afghanistan, Qureshi further stated.

"The foreign minister and the secretary of state stressed the need for the two sides to continue close coordination and cooperation to ensure meaningful progress in the peace process," the statement stated, adding that the two sides also exchanged views on regional connectivity and other key issues.

Foreign Minister Qureshi thanked Secretary Blinken for the Covid-related support extended to Pakistan by the United States.

In a tweet, Secretary Blinken stated: "Pakistan's Foreign Minister Qureshi and I had a call to underscore our desire for a stable and sustainable bilateral relationship. I look forward to continuing cooperation on the Afghan peace process, tackling Covid-19, supporting regional stability, and other key issues."

In a statement, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated that Secretary Blinken spoke with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and 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 Ghani and Chairman Abdullah," the spokesperson stated, adding that the secretary and the foreign minister also highlighted joint efforts to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, including the United States' recent donation of 2.5 million Moderna vaccines.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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