ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi talked by telephone to newly appointed US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Friday and discussed with him bilateral ties, Afghan peace process and the Daniel Pearl murder case, official sources said.Mr Qureshi congratulated Mr Blinken on assuming the office of US Secretary of State and underscored Pakistan’s commitment to forging a comprehensive partnership with the United States based on convergence of interests on a whole range of issues.Mr Blinken was sworn in as the 71st US Secretary of State on Jan 26
Highlighting what he termed “the transformation in Pakistan”, the foreign minister stressed that the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan had “a new vision that placed a premium on forging an economic partnership, building a peaceful neighbourhood and enhancing regional connectivity”, said the sources.Foreign Minister Qureshi told Secretary Blinken that peace in Afghanistan, through a negotiated political settlement, was one of the “fundamental convergences” that existed between the two countries.It was essential to have a reduction in violence that could lead to a ceasefire in Afghanistan and to work towards securing an inclusive political solution in the war-torn country, the sources quoted Mr Qureshi as telling Mr Blinken.Pakistan facilitated the Afghan peace process and remained committed to working with the United States as a partner for peace, he added.
Mr Qureshi also highlighted Pakistan’s “resolute measures” as well as its immense sacrifices in the fight against terrorism.Secretary Blinken recalled that Pakistan and the US had a long history of cooperation and had a range of areas to engage in. He acknowledged the sacrifices made by the people of Pakistan in the fight against terrorisin thecontext of recent developments in the Daniel Pearl murder case, the foreign minister underscored that it was in the interest of both countries that justice was served through legal means. He highlighted the steps being taken by the authorities in this regard.Foreign Minister Qureshi and Secretary Blinken agreed to remain engaged and work towards advancing the bilateral agenda and promoting common interests in the region and beyond, according to the sources.
Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2021