ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United States on Monday reaffirmed the resolve to bolster their bilateral cooperation and work closely in the fight against terrorism.
The understanding came during talks between Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and the US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides in Islamabad.
Later in a press statement, Hina Rabbani Khar said Pakistan and the United States are important partners and their relationship is based on mutual respect and interest.
Describing the visit of US Deputy Secretary of State, Thomas Nides as an important one for further strengthening the bilateral relations, she said today's meeting focused on further promoting bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
The Minister of State said that Pakistan deserves preferential market access to its products as it has made significant contributions for the world peace.
She said during the talks, both Pakistan and the United States reviewed the work for the next round of strategic dialogue.
In his remarks,the US Deputy Secretary of State said the United States will continue to work closely with Pakistan and extend full support to it in the war against terrorism.
He said the United States recognizes the multidimensional challenges faced by Pakistan and the sacrifices made by its people and the Army in the fight against terrorism.
Thomas Nides reiterated that the US respects democracy in Pakistan and wants to work collectively to achieve common goals.
He said the people to people contacts between the two countries are largest in the world and this relationship is critically important for the benefit of people of the two countries.
“I am here as part of a long series of visits from representatives of the United States: Senator John Kerry was just recently here, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Marc Grossman, Secretary Clinton herself was just recently here as well as Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen”, he added.
The US Deputy Secretary of State said “this series of meetings shows how important this relationship is to both of our countries. I believe we are now heading in the right direction. Still, all of us have a great deal of work ahead to sustain this momentum”.
He said the US and Pakistan have a broad, challenging and complex relationship, adding, “But one thing should be clear: The people of both of our countries benefit when we work together towards a common goal.”
The US Deputy Secretary also referred to the visit of Secretary Clinton a few weeks ago when she said, “we believe that the Pakistanis and the Americans share the same objectives: Defeat violent extremism. End the conflict in Afghanistan. Ensure a secure, stable, democratic, and prosperous future for Pakistan. And we will work closely with the government and the people of Pakistan to act on this common interest.”
Thomas Nides said, “We recognize that Pakistan faces severe challenges at this moment in its history. Pakistanis have suffered terribly at the hands of violent extremists. Your army and security forces have paid a heavy price. We respect your sacrifice.”
“We grieve with you over the loss of so many innocent people wantonly murdered by terrorists, as we saw once again in Peshawar over the weekend. And we share the distress of the Pakistani people that so many brave journalists have paid with their lives for pursuing the truth”, he added.
The US Deputy Secretary of State said everyone gains from a stable, prosperous, and democratic Pakistan, at peace with itself and with its neighbors, adding, he was pleased to learn of the completion of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement, an important step toward regional prosperity.
Thomas Nides again recalled that Secretary Clinton said during her visit to Pakistan last month, “we are prepared to stand by the Pakistani people for the long haul.”
“Let me reiterate: We respect your democracy. And we look to you, the Pakistani people, to choose the kind of country you wish to live in. And it is for the democratically-elected leaders of Pakistan to deliver results for the people”, he added.
The US Deputy Secretary of State said, the US was working with the government of Pakistan to help renovate the Tarbela dam, which will expand electricity generation and help address the energy crisis that affects the quality of life so much.