- Sartaj, Kerry meet, vow to improve, expand bilateral ties; The two also agree on the importance of promoting Afghan-led reconciliation process; Kerry says he would like to visit Pakistan in near future to review bilateral cooperation
- Sartaj addresses ASEAN ministerial meeting, calls on international community to raise voice against Indian brutalities in Indian Occupied Kashmir
US Secretary of State John Kerry Tuesday assured Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz that the United States is ready to improve and expand its multidimensional partnership with Pakistan.
“The meeting was very useful and productive. We hope a breakthrough will be made in bilateral issues in the near future,” a well placed source in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Pakistan Today.
Sartaj Aziz also addressed the Ministerial Meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum on Tuesday, calling on the international community to raise voice against the human rights violations being committed by the Indian forces against Kashmiris.
The meeting between Kerry and Aziz was held on the sidelines the Ministerial Meeting being held in Vientiane, Laos.
According to a communiqué issued in Islamabad, Aziz and Kerry agreed on the importance of promoting the Afghan-led reconciliation process.
The ARF ministerial meeting, which was attended by 10 ASEAN members and 17 dialogue partners, concluded on Tuesday.
Relations between Pakistan and US have recently seen a rare low after the US State Department, under pressure from the US Congress, decided to revoke a deal reached to sell F-16 fighter jets.
Islamabad was also unhappy with Washington over unprecedented concessions made to India by the US vis-à-vis the inclusion of India in the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) – a bid which was eventually unsuccessful.
“Advisor Sartaj Aziz and Secretary Kerry also exchanged views on the regional situation with special reference to Afghanistan and agreed on the importance of promoting the Afghan-led reconciliation process,” a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Pakistan has been leading efforts through a Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) for recommencement of peace talks between the Afghan government and insurgent Afghan Taliban. However, the efforts suffered major blows twice.
After the first QCG summit held in Murree, which was also attended by top Taliban leaders, some anti-talks elements in the Afghan government leaked the information about Mullah Omar’s death which sabotaged the peace process. Later, the peace process was derailed once again after Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a drone strike.
“Secretary Kerry appreciated Pakistan’s determined efforts to eliminate terrorist groups in Pakistan’s tribal belt with considerable success,” the statement said and added that the two sides also reviewed Pakistan-US bilateral relations.
“Secretary Kerry said he would like to visit Pakistan in the near future to review bilateral cooperation and discuss regional issues,” the statement added.
In a speech on July 6, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif had directed all army commanders and intelligence and law enforcement agencies to take concrete measures to deny any militant group safe haven or use of Pakistani soil to launch terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.
The US state department spokesman had welcomed the resolve of the army chief, acknowledging that Pakistan’s success in the war against terror had come at a cost, “That cost is in – certainly in Pakistani lives,” he said.
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SHOULD TAKE NOTICE OF INDIAN BRUTALITIES IN KASHMIR:
Sartaj Aziz said on Tuesday that the international community needs to raise voice against human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.
Addressing the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the foreign affairs advisor said Pakistan is deeply concerned about the recent killings of innocent Kashmiris by the Indian security forces.
He said Pakistan is willing to engage in a sustained, structured and result-oriented comprehensive dialogue process with India to resolve all issues, including Kashmir.
He said that Pakistan wants to pursue its vision of peaceful neighborhood.