Pak, US resolve to deepen bilateral relationship

* Vow to boost mutual consultations on Afghanistan post-2014

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the US resolved on Monday to deepen the bilateral relationship and strengthen mutual consultations on Afghanistan post-2014.
Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Monday met the outgoing US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James F Dobbins. The outgoing American diplomat visited the Foreign Office to meet the adviser. “The two sides reiterated their resolve to further deepen the bilateral relationship and strengthen mutual consultations on Afghanistan post-2014 with a view to advancing the shared objectives of peace, stability and economic development in the region and beyond,” the FO said in a statement. 
Sartaj Aziz highlighted the instrumental role of Pakistan-US Strategic Dialogue in fostering closer collaboration between the two countries in diverse fields, including trade, economy, energy, counter-terrorism, education and science and technology. Reviewing the process since its revitalisation last year, the two sides expressed satisfaction over the steady enhancement of mutual understanding and fruitful cooperation, according to the FO. 
On the ongoing Zarb-e-Azb operation in the NWA, the FO said, the adviser “highlighted Pakistan’s monumental effort to address the threat of terrorism and underscored that the military operation, Zarb-e-Azb, was addressing this menace without any discrimination or distinction.” Aziz reaffirmed Pakistan’s “commitment to a peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan. He appreciated the efforts of Secretary John Kerry who had contributed to an amicable understanding on election-related issues.” He also underlined Pakistan’s support for a peaceful democratic transition, underscoring its vital importance for stability in Afghanistan and the region. 
In a linked development, PM’s Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi left for Washington on an eight-day visit from July 21_28. He will hold meetings with senior officials in the State Department, Defence Department and the White House to exchange views on bilateral relations, the FO said. Fatemi will also participate in a UN Security Council debate in New York on “United Nations Peacekeeping: Regional Partnership and its Evolution,” scheduled on July 28. The US special representative held separate meetings with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif and Sartaj Aziz. According to diplomatic sources, Ambassador Dobbins would relinquish his present charge by this month’s end.

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