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(2009-01-05) Richard Boucher, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs called on Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi today at the Foreign Office. They exchanged views on bilateral relations, counter-terrorism cooperation and regional situation.

In the discussions, the Foreign Minister underlined importance of a broad-based relationship with U.S. through cooperation in areas of security, counter-terrorism and economic development.

The Foreign Minister reaffirmed that Pakistan’s struggle against terrorism was in its own interest and for promoting regional peace, security and development. He emphasized that a regional approach through close partnerships was vital for addressing the challenge of terrorism. It was in this spirit that Pakistan offered cooperation to India for investigation into Mumbai attacks, which should help build bilateral engagement and dialogue.

Foreign Minister Qureshi emphasized that enhanced Pakistan-U.S. cooperation on the initiatives such as Friends of Democratic Pakistan Group, Reconstruction Opportunity Zones and for capacity building in the area of counter-terrorism was important for the struggle against terrorism and promoting economic development.

On Pakistan’s efforts for stability and development in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Qureshi stated that environment of friendly relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan was growing. He told Assistant Secretary Boucher that Pakistan would be hosting Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) in April this year for promoting regional efforts for economic development in Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Qureshi also reiterated Pakistan’s request for early repatriation of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan.

Assistant Secretary Boucher said that the U.S. attached importance to relations with Pakistan and was keen to expand bilateral cooperation. He appreciated Pakistan’s important role in the fight against terrorism and stability of the region. He reiterated the U.S. commitment to support Pakistan help overcome security and economic challenges.

05 January 2009

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