ISLAMABAD: A visiting US delegation led by Senator John McCain lauded Pakistan's anti-terror efforts and expressed satisfaction over the improved security situation in North Waziristan and adjoining areas.
According to a statement released by the Foreign Office, Senator McCain and his colleagues deeply appreciated the enormous success achieved by Pakistan in its counter-terrorism campaign during a meeting with Pakistani diplomats in Islamabad.
“We come back with a message that we have a common enemy in ISIS, radical Islam and terrorism, and we look forward to closer relations and resolving the differences we have,” McCain said.
The US delegation also visited Miranshah, and said the effects of the operation were impressively visible in North Waziristan.
McCain also lauded Pakistan's role in the Afghan reconciliation process.
He called for joint efforts by the two countries to curb the menace of terrorism, adding that the US Congress will be briefed appropriately about Pakistan's efforts towards economic development and complete eradication of terrorism from its territory.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, who led the Pakistani delegation, reiterated the importance of regular high level contacts and added that parliamentary exchanges were particularly useful to understand each other’s perspective on issues of mutual interest and concerns.
Aziz appreciated Senator McCain for his positive comments regarding the importance of Pakistan-US relations at a time when the region is facing complex challenges.
The US delegation also included Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Joseph Donnelly and Senator Benjamin Sasse.
The Pakistani delegation comprised Adviser to Prime Minister Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and other senior officials
Yesterday, the US delegation met Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif .
During the meeting, the army chief listed unregulated border and rocky ties with Afghanistan as major challenges for sustaining achievements borne out of Pakistan's war on terror.
“[The] COAS dilated upon security challenges faced by Pakistan and Pakistan’s contribution to regional stability and global peace. Pakistan’s successes in war on terror, [and] need for an effective border management across [the] long porous Pak-Afghan border to check illegal movement on either side of the border were also discussed,” a statement from ISPR said about the meeting.
The delegation is visiting Pakistan on an invitation by Gen Sharif. During its stay in the country, the delegation members will study the actions Pakistan has taken against terrorism and their impact on regional peace and security.
“I was very impressed with the progress (on the ground),” said McCain, who is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The US delegation also visited the operational area in North Waziristan and paid tribute to the achievements and sacrifices rendered by the Pakistan Army.