WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday and reiterated the commitment to strengthening the partnership between the United States and Pakistan, the State Department said.

In a statement issued in Washington, the department’s spokesperson Matthew Miller said Secretary Blinken “reaffirmed our commitment to a robust partnership between the United States and Pakistan that advances the prosperity of both nations”.

Secretary Blinken, he said, also “stressed the importance of continued cooperation on counterterrorism, expanding our trade and investment partnership, and advancing women’s economic security and empowerment”.

As the statement indicates, central to this commitment is the prioritisation of cooperation in counterterrorism efforts, trade, and investment expansion.

Pakistan faces a serious threat from terrorist groups based in Afgha­nistan, like the TTP, and at a recent briefing Mr Miller made it clear that the United States did not want Afghanistan to allow terrorists to carry out cross-border attacks from its soil.

He also expressed the desire to further expand the counterterrorism partnership between the two countries.

Last week, US President Joe Biden also emphasised the need for strengthening the US-Pakistan partnership in a message he sent to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The conversation bet­ween the top diplomats of the two countries was the first since Ishaq Dar took the oath as new foreign minister.

A notable aspect of the discussion was the focus on advancing women’s economic security and empowerment. Secretary Blinken stressed the impor­tance of gender equality in fostering inclusive economic growth.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2024

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