Islamabad (Asghar Ali Mubarak) Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, today, received the US Acting Assistant Secretary of State Ambassador Alice Wells at the Foreign Office. Ambassador Wells was accompanied by senior officials from US National Security Council and Ambassador David Hale. Foreign Secretary was assisted by senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The visit was part of regular engagement between the two countries on bilateral and regional cooperation.
The Foreign Secretary underscored that the relationship with the United States needed to move forward under an environment of mutual trust and respect. US delegation was apprised about recent counter-terrorism actions taken by Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies that contributed to visible improvement in the security situation of Pakistan. It was mentioned that these comprehensive counter-terrorism actions would also contribute towards peace and stability in the entire region.
In the context of the regional situation, the Foreign Secretary expressed concerns on the continued use of Afghan soil by elements hostile to Pakistan’s stability. She added that strengthening border management mechanisms between Pakistan and Afghanistan was vital to addressing concerns relating to cross border movements. Early repatriation of Afghan refugees was also important for improving relations with Afghanistan, she emphasized. The Foreign Secretary reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to continue its efforts for promoting peace and stability in the region.
The Foreign Secretary drew the attention of the US delegation to the recent irresponsible statement by the Indian Army Chief and the pattern of escalation by India on the LoC and the working boundary and condemned Indian mortar attacks on Pakistani posts resulting in the martyrdom of Pakistani soldiers last night. She asked the US side to advise restraint to India and stop its escalation tactics.
Noting the importance of the longstanding bilateral relationship, Ambassador Wells acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts in eradicating terrorism and conveyed the US desire to work with Pakistan in furthering the shared objectives of stabilizing Afghanistan. She argued that as an immediate neighbor and important country of the region, Pakistan’s support was critical to the success of the US strategy for Afghanistan. To this end, Ambassador Wells underlined the need for strengthening intelligence cooperation between the two sides to improve coordination in counter-terrorism efforts.
The two sides agreed that all initiatives owned and led by the Afghans for seeking a peaceful solution should be supported by the regional countries. Pakistan’s positive role in several peace initiatives was appreciated.