US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed that democratic principles and respect for the rule of law were central to the US-Pakistan relationship, and these values will continue to guide this partnership forward, said a statement issued by the State Department on Tuesday after he spoke to Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
The United States supports a productive, democratic, and prosperous partnership with Pakistan. Had a good call with @BBhuttoZardari to discuss our support for Pakistan’s economic recovery and our shared regional concerns, including Afghanistan.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) July 24, 2023
Pakistan’s Foreign Office statement too mentioned the same in its readout.
FM @BBhuttoZardari had a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State @SecBlinken. They noted the positive momentum in Pakistan 🇵🇰 -U.S. 🇺🇸 relations and agreed to remain constructively engaged to promote peace, security and development. pic.twitter.com/lhZh2fBqxd
— Spokesperson 🇵🇰 MoFA (@ForeignOfficePk) July 25, 2023
The two foreign ministers reviewed bilateral cooperation, the recent IMF deal, Afghanistan and other issues of mutual interest.
Blinken’s reference to democratic principles and the rule of law suggests that the US wants parliamentary elections on time. Observers also believe the US’ stress on rule of law came against the backdrop of a crackdown against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
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The Foreign Office statement said both foreign ministers expressed satisfaction at the current positive momentum in the Pak-US ties.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto underscored that Pakistan valued its longstanding and broad-based relationship with the US and wished to further deepen the partnership.
He noted that during the past year, apart from holding six dialogues, the exchange of high-level visits had diversified and solidified the relationship.
The foreign minister underlined the priority attached to economic and trade relations and Pakistan’s particular interest in advancing cooperation on climate change and green energy.
Thanking the US for its support, Bilawal said that the Standby Arrangement between Pakistan and the IMF would provide impetus to Pakistan’s economic and development imperatives and that Pakistan was committed to bringing structural reforms in its economy to make it more competitive and attractive for business and foreign investment.
The two foreign ministers underlined the importance of constructive engagement between Pakistan and the United States for promoting peace, security and development in the region.
They also discussed the regional security situation, including the threat from terrorism, and reaffirmed their desire to continue close cooperation for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
FM Bilawal noted the importance of the Black Sea Grain Initiative especially from the perspective of developing countries and concerns regarding food security and inflation, and stressed the need for continued concerted efforts with a view to reviving the deal at the earliest.
This was the fourth telephone call between Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Secretary Blinken since the former assumed his responsibilities.
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The State Department readout said that Secretary Blinken spoke over phone with Bilawal to reaffirm a productive US-Pakistan partnership.
Secretary Blinken underscored the United States’ steadfast commitment to the people of Pakistan, highlighting that the economic success of Pakistan remains a top priority for the United States.
The secretary noted that the United States will continue to engage with Pakistan through technical and development initiatives and through their robust trade and investment ties.
He also welcomed the International Monetary Fund’s approval of a program to support Pakistan, and encouraged continued reforms to promote economic recovery and prosperity. The secretary noted the Pakistani people have suffered tremendously from terrorist attacks and affirmed the United States’ commitment to continued partnership with Pakistan on counterterrorism.
The secretary and foreign minister also discussed the destabilizing effects of Russia’s war against Ukraine as well as the United States and Pakistan’s shared interest in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.