Blinken makes maiden telephone call to FM Dar

In Local
April 05, 2024



ISLAMABAD:

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday telephoned his Pakistani counterpart Ishaq Dar in a maiden contact where both sides reviewed bilateral ties and discussed regional and international issues.

“Foreign Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar received a telephone call from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken today (Friday),” said a statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO).

The statement said both sides reiterated their dedication to strengthening bilateral cooperation across all spheres of mutual interest.

A wide range of bilateral issues including enhancing trade and investment relations, climate change, agriculture, and security came under discussion, it added.

The statement further said that various matters of regional importance such as the situation in Gaza, the Red Sea, and developments in Afghanistan were also discussed.

Read more: Biden reaches out to Pakistani premier

Both sides expressed satisfaction with the current positive momentum in bilateral relations.

The telephonic conversation between the two top diplomats came on the heels of a letter earlier written by President Joe Biden to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Biden’s letter was the first formal contact between the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office in years. The US President never reached out directly to any of the Pakistani prime ministers during his term as president. He never spoke to former prime minister Imran Khan nor interacted with his successor Shehbaz Sharif.

But the latest flurry of engagements at the highest level between the two countries suggested that there seems to be a change in US policy towards Pakistan.

Observers believe that the uncertain situation in Afghanistan and renewed threat of global terrorism might have pushed Washington to keep the channel of communication open with Pakistan.

US Generals in recent testimonies before Congress admitted Pakistan’s vital role in the Afghan situation and counter-terrorism operations.

CENTCOM chief General Michael Kurilla told the US Arms Services Committee in one of the recent briefings that Pakistan had invaluable experience in dealing with Afghanistan and was a willing partner in counter-terrorism efforts.

However, experts feel that it is too early to say if the re-engagement between Pakistan and the US would lead to some tangible partnership.

A lot will depend on the situation unfolding in Afghanistan and the outcome of the presidential elections in the US which are scheduled for later this year.

Pakistan is keen to maintain constructive engagement with the US as it considers Washington’s support crucial for IMF bailouts and help from other Washington-based lenders.

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