By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met US Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, with the two sides resolving to remain engaged and carry forward the relationship that has been on a downward trajectory since announcement of the US policy for Afghanistan and South Asia.
Abbasi’s meeting with VP Pence is the highest contact between the two sides since the policy was announced on Aug 21. Pakistan had after the policy announcement postponed the then planned bilateral interactions.
The meeting on the sidelines of the 72nd UNGA session in New York was held in a cordial atmosphere, a statement of Pakistan’s Foreign Office said.
“Prime Minister [Abbasi] shared Pakistan’s concerns and views with regard to the US strategy for South Asia,” it said.
Abbasi and Pence agreed to work together to carry forward the bilateral relationship and discussed matters relating to peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.
“It was agreed that the two countries would stay engaged with a constructive approach to achieve shared objectives of peace, stability and economic prosperity in the region,” the statement said.
In his opening remarks, the US vice president greeted Abbasi on behalf of President Donald Trump. He recalled the strategy articulated by Trump on South Asia and said the US valued its relationship with Pakistan, a long term partnership for security in the region.
“We look forward to exploring ways so that we can work even more closely with Pakistan and with your government to advance security throughout the region,” he told Abbasi.
In response, Abbasi said Pakistan intends to continue efforts to eliminate terrorism in the area.
“We have made our contributions, we fought a very difficult war, we suffered casualties and have suffered economic losses and that is the message that we bring to the world,” he said. “We are partners in the war against terrorism.”
By Muhammad Luqman