WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in Washington on Tuesday for an official four-day visit, where he was accorded a Guard of Honour by the United States armed forces at the Andrews Air Base.
Assistant Secretary of State Peter Selfridge and other senior US officials received the premier, who was accompanied by his wife Kulsoom Nawaz, daughter Maryam Nawaz, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar and PM's special assistant on foreign affairs, Tariq Fatemi.
During the visit, the prime minister will hold discussions on wide-ranging issues of bilateral interest with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and various Cabinet members.
In these meetings, the two sides are expected to review the current state of Pakistan-US relations and identify new areas for future bilateral cooperation to further expand and enrich the canvas of this partnership.
In addition to the above meetings, Nawaz will interact with members of the US Senate and the House of Representative as well as senior US Government officials.
The prime minister will attend a business event organized by US-Pakistan Business Council in Washington DC and address the United States Institute of Peace.
National interest a priority during US trip: PM
Nawaz Sharif had earlier affirmed that Pakistan’s national interests will be prioritised during his upcoming visit to the US.
The premier was speaking to media personnel in London, en route the US.
“We will protect the national interests of Pakistan during my meetings with US leadership,” said the prime minister.
While responding to a question on recent reports in US media regarding Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, and plans to limit it, the premier said: “We should not forget who the prime minister was in 1999 when we became a nuclear power.”
Nawaz also stated that concrete evidence regarding India’s sponsoring of terrorism has been forwarded to relevant people and organisations, and expressed hope that Pakistan’s concerns would be addressed.
The US sees Pakistan as one of the few sources of influence over the extremists, and analysts say Washington will use the four-day trip to urge Sharif to keep pushing for a new round of talks.