Pak-US agree to give each other ‘space’ to take decisions

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United States on Tuesday agreed to give some ‘space’ to each other to take decisions in line with mutual as well as national interests.
“Both sides have realised that the base of their relationship is founded on respecting each others’ perspectives. Both sides have agreed to allow space to each other to take decisions in line with mutual as well as national interests,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement following a meeting between the US Congressmen and Secretary Defence Lieutenant General (r) Asif Yasin Malik on Tuesday. 
A bipartisan American delegation comprising Democrat and Republican members of the House of Representatives is on a two-day visit to Pakistan.
The seven-member delegation headed by Martha Roby discussed the defence and strategic issues concerning Pakistan as well as the region. “Overall defence relations between Pakistan and US came under discussion during the meeting,” the statement said. Defence secretary, the ministry said, expressed the hope that Pakistan-US relations will continue to evolve on principles of mutual respect and shared common interests.
“Defence secretary gave a comprehensive brief to the visiting delegation on regional security issue, particularly on post-2014 Afghanistan. He also reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to continue its support to global efforts for a lasting peace in Afghanistan.”
The visiting delegation acknowledged the sacrifices of Pakistan’s armed forces and the people in the war against terrorism. The delegation leader highlighted the positive role Pakistan has played towards peaceful and stable Afghanistan and the region, while ensuring continued US support in the field of defence.
Later, the delegation, comprising Martha Roby, Susan Davis, Renee Ellmers and Cheri Bustos, held a meeting with Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry. The four delegates are members of the Armed Services and the Energy and Agriculture committees.
According to the Foreign Office, Pakistan-US relations as well as the regional situation were discussed in the meeting. “The foreign secretary highlighted government’s focus on pursuing the goal of economic prosperity for the people of Pakistan,” a statement said, adding that the secretary underscored Pakistan’s commitment to promote relations with its neighbours for regional security and prosperity.
“The visiting Congressmen acknowledged the importance of Pakistan-US relationship. They appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for countering terrorism and its role in the promotion of regional peace and prosperity, especially in the backdrop of US forces drawdown from Afghanistan.”
Separately, US naval chief Admiral Jonathan William Greener, who is also on an official visit to Pakistan, met Air Chief Tahir Rafique Butt and Naval Chief Admiral Asif Sandila to exchange notes on the matters of professional interests.

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