WASHINGTON: The US support for Pakistan’s economic growth and the assurance that the United States “stands by Pakistan in hard times” are the two key points that both sides highlighted in this week’s public statements on bilateral relations.

In return, Pakistan indicated that it would support US moves in the United Nations aimed at diplomatically isolating Russia for invading Ukraine.

Talks about reviving the once close relationship are echoing again in Washington as the United States and Pakistan observe the 75th anniversary of their diplomatic ties.

The United States was among the first countries to recognise Pakistan when it won independence from Britain in 1947.

This week, the United States sent emergency relief for the flood victims in Pakistan, but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken availed this opportunity to assure Islamabad that Washington wants to stay engaged with this old ally despite recent irritants.

Blinken while anno­uncing an amount of $1.1 million for the flood affected, assured Islamabad that the US would also help “mitigate future impacts of the climate crisis”.

On Thursday, US State Depart­m­­ent’s counselor Derek Chollet spo­ke with Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood about the 75th anniv­er­sary of US-Pakistan diplomatic ties.

Later, the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs said in a statement that the two officials “discussed US support for Pakistan’s economic growth” and the recent health dialogue in Washington, attended by a high-level delegation from Islamabad.

“We also focused on Afghanistan coordination & solidarity with Ukraine,” Mr Chollet said.

On Thursday, Pakistan’s US Ambassador Masood Khan met Assistant Secretary of State for International Organisation Affairs Michele Sison in Washington. The conversation focused on how to “further strengthen our multi­lat­e­ral cooperation including on the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” Ambassador Sison tweeted.

The Pakistani embassy in Wash­ington also issued a statement, saying that Ambassador Khan and Ambassador Sison discussed “a host of issues — ranging from Pak­istan-US multilateral cooperation on SDGs, connectivity and digital inclusion.”

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2022

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