Ties with Pakistan in best place, says US official

Published June 30, 2024
US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Horst while speaks at a mango party at the Pakistan Embassy on June 28. — X/PakinUSA
US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Horst while speaks at a mango party at the Pakistan Embassy on June 28. — X/PakinUSA

WASHINGTON: A senior US official has assured Islamabad that the United States and Pakistan maintain a stable and broad-based relationship despite occasional friction between the two allies.

The assurance follows the recent adoption of a resolution by an overwhelming majority in the US Congress, expressing concerns about the state of democracy and human rights in Pakistan. Islamabad responded strongly, rejecting the concerns as unfounded.

“Like any longstanding relationship, there’s always a little bit of friction at times,” said US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Horst while speaking at a mango party at the Pakistan Embassy on Friday night.

“But the US-Pakistan relationship is in the best place it’s been in years. We have achieved stability and a broadening of our relationship that we haven’t seen in many, many years,” she added.

“We have had new dialogues opened. We have looked for new areas of trade. We have looked for ways we can cooperate on things like health and energy and climate — things that we haven’t talked about for a long time.”

Ms Horst also acknowledged the role of the outgoing Pakistani ambassador, Masood Khan, who announced at the event that it was his farewell reception and that he would relinquish his charge on Monday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in Islamabad on Thursday that it was sending a new envoy to Washington and to the UN headquarters in New York. The move caused speculation in Washington that the adoption of the pro-democracy resolution hastened Ambassador Khan’s departure.

Highlighting Ambassador Khan’s role in “building bridges between Islamabad and Washington,” Ms Horst said: “You have been incredibly effective. You are leaving the relationship better than when you came and as strong as it’s been in a long time.”

She noted that in the last two years, the United States and Pakistan have initiated new dialogues and explored new areas of trade.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2024

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