Sartaj, Kerry discuss ties with India, Afghanistan, situation in Iraq

Top US official reaffirms commitment to Pakistan in its efforts to counter terrorism, peaceful future

WASHINGTON/LONDON – National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz and US Secretary of State John Kerry have discussed Pakistan's relations with India and Afghanistan, regional integration, energy and economic issues during their meeting in London.

“They discussed regional economic integration as well as regional relations of Pakistan with India and Afghanistan, given changes in government leadership in both countries,” a US State Department official said. The meeting between the two leaders was held on the sidelines of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.

“In light of the recent attacks on the Karachi airport, Secretary Kerry reaffirmed our steadfast commitment to the people of Pakistan in their efforts to counter terrorism and build a peaceful and prosperous future," the official said.

During the meeting, Kerry made clear that the two countries have a shared interest in building a safer and more prosperous Pakistan, the official said requesting anonymity. They also spoke about Iraq and deep concerns about the continued gains of ISIL, the threat posed by this militant group to security and the importance of supporting the Iraqi government.

State Department Deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said the secretary in his meeting with Sartaj Aziz reaffirmed commitment to working with Pakistan in their efforts to counter terrorism. He made clear that they have a shared interest here when it comes to this threat. Pakistanis are influenced tragically by more than anyone in Pakistan.

They also did speak about Iraq and concerns about ISIL, spoke about regional economic integration as well, including regional relations between Pakistan and India. Earlier, ahead of the meeting, Kerry told reporters that the Pakistan and the US were old friends who have worked on a number of issues for a long time together.

"And obviously Pakistan very, very key now, has been for 70 years, but now with the transition in Afghanistan, with the new government in India, with certain challenges that we're both facing in terms of counter terrorism – we also have major economic issues; energy is a huge challenge in Pakistan," he said.

Sartaj said the meeting gives both the countries an opportunity to review various issues between them and progress made in bilateral relations. "We had the strategic dialogue with the US in March, and it's sort of always useful to follow up to see what progress has been made, what more needs to be done," Aziz said.

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