4:52 am - Saturday June 22, 2024

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Aziz discuss India-Pak ties, regional integration

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Pakistan National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz has discussed Pakistan’s relations with India and Afghanistan, regional integration, energy and economic issues, officials in Washington said.

“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 State Department official said.

The meeting between the two leaders in London was held on Friday 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, Mr. 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 Islamist militant group to security in the region and the importance of supporting the Iraqi government.

Earlier, ahead of the meeting, Mr. Kerry told reporters that the U.S. and Pakistan are old friends who have worked on a number of issues for a long time together.

“And obviously Pakistan 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.

Mr. Aziz said the meeting gives the both countries an opportunity to review various issues between them and progress made in bilateral relations.

“We had the strategic dialogue with the U.S. 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,” Mr. Aziz said.

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