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“Ladies and gentlemen

Thank you very much for being here this morning.

Let me begin by welcoming Secretary Kerry and his team to Islamabad for this Ministerial Review of the Strategic Dialogue.

We had a very useful and productive exchange of views on a wide range of bilateral issues. Relations with the US are a vital component of our foreign policy. The Strategic Dialogue provides us with a forum to discuss all aspects of our bilateral relationship. In our discussion today we took stock of the progress made in the six Working Groups within the Strategic Dialogue process since the last review in January 2014 and to identify areas for future collaboration and cooperation.

The Working Groups cover a wide range of issues including cooperation in economy, energy, defence cooperation, nuclear issue, counter-terrorism and law enforcement and the recently-established Working Group that focuses on education and science & technology.

We also discussed the regional situation. Pakistan wants peaceful relations with all its neighbours, both on our eastern and western borders. With India, we want a constructive, sustained and result-oriented dialogue on all issues of mutual concern. The cancellation of Foreign Secretary level talks by India, followed by the recent incidents of unprovoked and indiscriminate firing on the LoC and Working boundary are a source of serious concern to us. We hope that the US, as an influential member of the international community, can prevail upon India to work with Pakistan towards regional peace and economic prosperity

I also briefed Secretary Kerry about several positive developments in the past 3 months that have helped to improve Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan and emphasized the importance of larger assistance from the global community for reconstruction and development in Afghanistan. We agreed that peace and stability in Afghanistan was an essential pre-requisite for stability in Pakistan and the Region.

Secretary Kerry welcomed the resolute steps initiated by Pakistan to counter the menace of terrorism through the National Action Plan and related measures.

We agreed on the importance of expanding trade between the two countries. I urged Secretary Kerry to consider various proposals to provide greater market access to Pakistan and said Pakistan is eagerly awaiting the joint US-Pakistan Business Opportunities Conference in Islamabad in March 2015.

With these brief remarks I invite Secretary Kerry for his comments.”

13 January, 2015

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