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Today, Ambassador Richard Olson, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and Dr. Peter Lavoy, Senior Adviser and Director for South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council called on Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Mr. Sartaj Aziz and Foreign Secretary Mr. Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry. They held candid discussions on bilateral relations, regional security situation and the Afghan peace process in the wake of 21 May drone strike in Balochistan. The Adviser conveyed a strong message to the United States that the 21 May drone strike was not only a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and breach of the principles of the United Nation’s Charter, but has also vitiated bilateral ties. It was emphasized that any future drone strike in Pakistan will be detrimental to our common desire to strengthen relations.

The Adviser further expressed his concern that the drone strike had seriously undermined the ongoing efforts for Afghan peace and reconciliation process at a time when Pakistan, along with other Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) countries, was engaged in serious efforts to revive peace talks between Afghan Government and the Taliban.

The Foreign Secretary recalled that in QCG’s fifth meeting on 18 May 2016, it was decided that peace negotiations remained the only option for a political settlement. He emphasized that this would require collective efforts on the part of all QCG members to promote lasting peace in Afghanistan.

In response to US queries on safe havens for Taliban, it was emphasized that Pakistan is already pursuing its objective of eliminating all militants and terrorists from its soil in accordance with the National Action Plan. At the same time, Pakistan would have to safeguard its own security through better border management and early repatriation of Afghan refugees. Pakistan also expects action by Afghan forces against TTP operatives in Afghanistan. These steps would also help to promote better relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan and reduce mistrust.

Dr. Peter Lavoy, while conveying President Obama’s good wishes for the Prime Minister’s speedy recovery, said that President Obama was committed to improving relations with Pakistan as emphasized during Prime Minister’s visit to Washington in October 2015.

10 June 2016

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