In phone call, Foreign Minister Qureshi stressed to Secretary of State Blinken the ‘fundamental convergence’ on need for peaceful settlement in Afghanistan
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday and exchanged views on regional connectivity and other key issues, including bilateral relations, according to a statement issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Office.
Citing Qureshi, the statement said that he had emphasized 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. “The foreign minister 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,” it added.
On Afghanistan, read the statement, the foreign minister had stressed the “fundamental convergence” between Islamabad and Washington on the need for a peaceful settlement in the war-torn state. Qureshi, it said, highlighted the steps Pakistan had taken to support the Afghan peace process and reiterated that securing peace 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,” he said, adding that Pakistan would remain a “reliable partner for peace in Afghanistan.”
The foreign minister also thanked Blinken for America’s COVID-related support to Pakistan, and both stressed on the need for them to continue close coordination and cooperation to ensure meaningful progress in the peace process.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the two leaders had “underscored the shared desire for a stable and sustainable bilateral relationship” during their call. “The secretary and the foreign minister discussed the importance of continued U.S.-Pakistan cooperation on the Afghanistan peace process following the visit to the United States by Afghan President [Ashraf] Ghani and Chairman [Abdullah] Abdullah,” he added.
In a posting on Twitter, Blinken said he and Qureshi had underscored “our desire for a stable and sustainable bilateral relationship.” He said he looked forward “to continuing cooperation on the Afghan peace process, tackling COVID-19, supporting regional stability, and other key issues.”
Blinken’s call came a day after President Joe Biden delivered a national address in which he defended his decision to completely withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, despite reports of the Taliban rapidly taking over large swathes of the country in recent weeks.