WASHINGTON: United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday said that US and Pakistan relationship is extraordinarily important and Pakistan’s role is critical to the long-term stability of the region, ARY News reported.
Talking to media after meeting Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Tillerson said that President Trump’s South Asia strategy is not just about Afghanistan but also about the importance of Pakistan, and Pakistan’s long-term stability.
“We have concerns about the future of Pakistan’s government too, in terms of them – we want their government to be stable. We want it to be peaceful. And many of the same issues they’re struggling with inside of Pakistan are our issues,” said Tillerson.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have held talks in Washington on bilateral relations, Afghanistan and regional situation.
During the meeting, the foreign minister, visiting Washington at Secretary Tillerson’s invitation, said that Pakistan and the United States shared a common desire for peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region at large.
He emphasized that Pakistan sought a broad based relationship with United States building on a seven decade long history of successful cooperation.
Foreign Minister pointed out that Pakistan is winning its war against terrorism. In contrast to other countries, the incidence of terrorism in Pakistan has seen a marked decline – with a salutary impact on economic and commercial activity. This was made possible because Pakistan has pursued a zero-tolerance and indiscriminate approach in its campaign against all terrorist and militant groups.
He informed the Secretary of State with regard to the strong public reaction in Pakistan to the pronouncement of US Administration’s South Asia Policy – based on inadequate recognition of Pakistan’s sterling contribution in the fight against terrorism.
He added that in addition to huge human and material cost incurred by Pakistan, our cultural ethos as a moderate state had suffered due to protracted instability in Afghanistan.
Secretary Tillerson acknowledged and appreciated the sacrifices rendered by the people and armed forces of Pakistan in the struggle against terrorism.
The Foreign Minister reiterated Pakistan’s position on the need for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political approach to achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan.
He conveyed Pakistan’s concerns with regard to ungoverned spaces within Afghanistan, from which attacks against Pakistan continued to be planned and carried out.
Inviting Secretary Tillerson to visit Islamabad to continue their discussions, the Foreign Minister stressed that a broad-based and structured framework for dialogue would best serve the two countries’ mutual interests.
Secretary Tillerson accepted the invitation to visit Pakistan at an early date. Both sides agreed to remain constructively engaged with a view to achieving the shared objectives of peace, stability and economic prosperity in the region.