NEW YORK: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and discussed bilateral relations and the situation in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the war-torn country.
Although the two top diplomats have been in touch with since January this year, but this was their first face-to-face meeting in New York. which took place on the margins of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly. They last spoke to each other by phone on August 16.
The Foreign Minister, according to a press release issued by the Pakistani embassy, said at the meeting that close engagement between Pakistan and the United States had always been mutually beneficial and a factor for stability in South Asia.
He reiterated Pakistan’s desire for a balanced relationship with the United States that was anchored in trade, investment, energy and regional connectivity. FM Qureshi also reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to facilitating efforts for an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan.
He stressed that only a stable and broad-based government in Afghanistan, which reflects its diversity and preserves the gains made by the country since 2001, would be able to ensure that Afghan territory is never exploited by transnational terrorist groups ever again.
Noting that a new political reality had emerged in Afghanistan, the foreign minister said while the Taliban should be held to their commitments, the international community has a moral obligation to help the Afghan people deal with the growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
He hoped that the world would not repeat the mistake of disengaging with Afghanistan.
The Foreign Minister highlighted the grave human rights situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and underscored the importance of resolving the Kashmir dispute for lasting peace and stability in South Asia.
Secretary Blinken appreciated Pakistan’s support for the evacuation of US citizens and other nationals from Afghanistan, and its continued efforts for peace in the region, according to the press release.