Home Latest News U.S. to Continue Engaging with All Levels of Pakistani Society: Donald Blome

U.S. to Continue Engaging with All Levels of Pakistani Society: Donald Blome

New envoy to Pakistan reiterates rejection of ousted prime minister Imran Khan’s regime change conspiracy

by Newsweek Pakistan

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Reiterating Washington’s repeated denials of any role in the vote of no-confidence that led to the ouster of Imran Khan as prime minister, new U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome on Monday stressed there was no confusion on the matter.

“I think the best thing we can do going forward is to keep engaging across all levels of Pakistani society, as we have for the past 75 years!” he told daily Dawn in an interview. Emphasizing that this engagement would not be limited to government-to-government contacts, he said it would also extend to political leaders, the business community, civil society, and the youth. Through these talks, he said that he would try to “listen to and understand” the prevailing scenario and convey his findings to Washington while also presenting American “views and positions as clearly and as transparently as possible.”

After a lengthy confirmation process, Blome took charge of the U.S. mission in Pakistan late last month during a peak of anti-Americanism sentiment, primarily instigated by Khan and his repeated claims that Washington had “funded” his ouster in collaboration with the then-opposition.

The ambassador told the local daily that the U.S. had planned several follow-up meetings to the bilateral engagement between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in New York last month. “I will do some of that here, and I expect we will see a variety of U.S. visitors to Pakistan in the coming months to build on it further,” he said.

According to Blome, the two countries would also soon launch the U.S.-Pakistan Health Dialogue in Washington to deepen their cooperation on health issues, adding that their cooperation during the COVID-19 pandemic had been a good example of cooperation on health.

The envoy said he was also committed to promoting bilateral trade and investment, noting that health, climate, and education were areas where cooperation could be expanded. However, per Dawn, he made it clear that counterterrorism cooperation would remain a defining feature of Pak-U.S. ties in the near term. The U.S. was seeking “a strong partnership with Pakistan on counterterrorism,” he said, adding that it expects “sustained” and indiscriminate action from Islamabad against all militant and terrorist groups.

“The United States is committed to preventing the reemergence of terrorist threats, in Afghanistan or anywhere else. Fighting terrorism is a global effort. We will continue to engage partners, allies, and key states around the world on how best to address terrorism,” he said.

Referring to Afghanistan, Blome said the U.S. would work with Pakistan to “press the Taliban to prevent terrorist groups from using Afghanistan as a base for external operations and to meet the international community’s expectations—including pressing the Taliban to adhere to their counterterrorism commitments, form an inclusive government, and protect the rights of women and girls.”

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