ISLAMABAD: Acting US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells on Tuesday called on Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood at the Foreign Office during which she emphasised that a strong trade and investment relationship was key to advancing the shared vision of the leadership of both countries for a long term, broad-based and enduring partnership.
The foreign secretary, for his part, highlighted the grave human rights and humanitarian situation in India-Occupied Kashmir (IOK), “intensified ceasefire violations from the Indian side, belligerent rhetoric of the Indian civil and military figures, and India’s aggressive measures along the Line of Control”. He further stressed the need for the international community to play its role in the peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, said the FO spokesperson.
The two sides also discussed recent developments regarding the Afghan peace and reconciliation process. The foreign secretary reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to continue to support the peace process and pursue positive development of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations.
Referring to the foreign minister’s recent visits to Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States, and his telephone conversations with other foreign ministers, FS Mahmood underscored that Pakistan remained committed to supporting the efforts for de-escalation of tensions and promoting the prospects of a diplomatic way forward on the differences and disputes in the Middle East.
Wells’ visit to Islamabad comes immediately after Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi concluded his trip to the US where he interacted with senior United Nations and American officials in New York and Washington.
According to Arab News, the Afghan peace deal will be top of Wells’ agenda during her Pakistan tour.
Afghan Taliban have recently agreed to a reduction in violence, and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi last week had said that the announcement by the group was an essential step towards a peace agreement in Afghanistan.
In addition to the Aghan peace talks, Pakistan’s role in recent developments in the Middle East has positioned it as “an effective backdoor communication channel between Iran and the United States”.