WASHINGTON: The United States said on Tuesday that it would continue its “unwavering support” to Pakistan’s efforts to overcome the economic crisis but also urged it to watch its interests carefully.
Responding to a question about the Chinese vice premier’s visit to Islamabad for talks on the CPEC at a State Department news briefing, Spokesman Matthew Miller said: “I would say that first of all our support for Pakistan’s economic is unwavering and we will continue to engage with Pakistan about strengthening and our trade and investment ties.”
The US, he said, welcomes trade and investment that “promote such development and growth, but “we will continue in all cases to emphasise the need for transparency, sustainable financing practices, preservation of national and data security to ensure mutual benefit for Pakistan and its partners.”
In earlier briefings, US officials had warned Pakistan that CPEC would push the country deeper into an already stifling debt burden, foster corruption and repatriate jobs and profits to China.
Washington joins FM Bilawal in urging Taliban to stop cross-border attacks
Mr Miller was less specific in Tuesday’s briefing but he did emphasise the need for Pakistan to be careful.
Message for Kabul
The US has also urged the Taliban not to allow terrorists to use Afghan soil for attacks in Pakistan or other places in the region.
The issue of terrorists using Afghanistan as a base for attacking targets inside Pakistan was raised at the State Department’s briefing when a journalist asked if this issue was also discussed at US-Taliban meetings in Doha on July 30 and 31.
“We made it clear at that meeting, as we have at other meetings and engagements with the Taliban, that we believe it’s important they do not allow Afghanistan to be used as a base for terrorist attacks in the region or anywhere else,” said Mr Miller.
Separately, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also called on Kabul to take action against militant elements using the Afghan soil.
Addressing a ceremony at the Foreign Office, he said Pakistan’s stance was “clear” and it had demanded the Afghan interim set-up to curb terrorism, as cooperation against the menace of terrorism was in the “interest of both countries”.
He also noted that Afghanistan lacked a standing army, anti-terrorist force or border management force, which he said caused capacity issues regarding terrorism. But, he said, “we have faced these threats in the past and will face them together again”, adding that Islamabad was ready to assist Kabul as it had the capacity to deal with such threats.
UN, US express solidarity
As the UN Security Council urged all states to cooperate with Pakistan in fighting terrorism, the State Department assured Islamabad it stands in solidarity with the people of the country.
The president of the general assembly and the secretary general underlined the need for a global approach to defeat terrorism. UN Secretary General António Guterres, in a statement on Monday, called on the Pakistani authorities to bring those responsible to justice. He said he “stands in solidarity with the government and the people of Pakistan in combating this scourge”.
In Washington, Mr Miller also sent “heartfelt condolences” and assured Islamabad that the US “stand(s) in solidarity with the people of Pakistan during this difficult time”.
Published in Dawn, Aug 2nd, 2023