Alice Wells visits Pakistan Foreign Office, discusses progress in bilateral ties

Alice Wells visits Pakistan Foreign Office, discusses progress in bilateral ties

Naveed Siddiqui,
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US diplomat Alice Wells holds delegation-level talks with FO officials. Photo: Foreign Office

Senior US diplomat Alice Wells on Tuesday held delegation-level discussions with senior officials of the Pakistan Foreign Office to review progress on bilateral relations.

Wells, the US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, headed the visiting delegation while the Pakistani side was led by Additional Secretary FO (Americas) Aftab Khokher. Senior officials from the interior and defence ministries also attended the talks.

“The meeting took stock of the understanding reached between Foreign Minister [Shah Mehmood] Qureshi and Secretary [Mike] Pompeo to rebuild the relationship based on mutual trust and respect,” FO spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said in a statement.

Pakistan during the meeting stressed the need to increase commercial and economic cooperation and people-to-people contacts in order to diversity bilateral US-Pakistan relations, the handout said.

The evolving regional situation and peace and stability in Afghanistan were also discussed during the meeting.

“The US delegation appreciated the need to strengthen the bilateral relationship with Pakistan which [is] an important country of the region,” the statement revealed.

The two sides agreed to continue efforts to promote the shared objectives of peace and stability in the region and to diversify their bilateral relationship.

Meeting with finance minister

The US envoy also called on Finance Minister Asad Umar.

During the meeting, Wells and Umar discussed the present state of Pakistan-US ties — with an emphasis on economic cooperation — and the overall security situation in the region, a Ministry of Finance press release said.

“Matters related to international cooperation to curb terror financing also came under discussion,” the statement said.

The finance minister was quoted as saying during the meeting that Pakistan had made great strides in the war against terrorism in recent years and “it will continue to take all possible steps to root out terror financing and money laundering”.

Umar shared the government’s vision to reform the country’s economy with the diplomat, who informed the minister about the US efforts for regional security.

The finance minister said “such visits contribute to enhancing understanding of each other’s point of view on issues of bilateral significance”.

Ambassador Wells had arrived in Pakistan earlier today on a one-day visit.

The Government of Pakistan official Twitter account had announced that Wells would discuss “Pakistan-US ties, regional situation and Afghan peace process”.

The purpose of the meetings between Wells and Pakistani officials would be to follow up on Foreign Minister Qureshi’s meeting with Pompeo earlier this month “with a view to further strengthen bilateral relations”, the spokesperson had said yesterday.

Her visit comes ahead of a meeting of regional countries on Afghan peace, involving Iran, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbe­kistan and Turkmenistan, which is being hosted by Moscow on Friday. A delegation of Taliban will also join the talks.

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