US official discusses security situation with COAS, Nisar

Source: Published in Current Affairs on Friday, May 20, 2016

ISLAMABAD: US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard G. Olson called on Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar here on Thursday to discuss the overall security situation in the region, with particular reference to Afghanistan. US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale was also present in the meeting.

“A stable and peaceful Afghanistan is not only in favour of Pakistan, but also the entire region. The only solution to the Afghanistan issue is dialogue,” said the minister. “We have reservations on the United States’ policy for stopping funding to Pakistan for F-16 planes. In spite of this, all issues between Pakistan and the US will be resolved through dialogue,” he added.

The interior minister said Pakistan wanted to further expand its ties with the US but for this, Pakistan’s point of view and sovereignty must be considered at all levels.

Mr Olson said the US appreciated Pakistan’s efforts and role for durable peace in Afghanistan. He said that in spite of some issues, the US government gave much importance to its relations with Pakistan and wanted to further expand existing ties.

Mr Olson also called on Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif at General Headquarters.

During the meeting, the regional security situation, with particular reference to the situation in Afghanistan, came under discussion, according to an ISPR news release. Mr Olson appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in the fight against terrorism.

Business opportunities conference

Mr Olson, accompanied by Ambassador Hale, called on Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday to discuss preparations for the US-Pak Business Opportunities Conference to be held in New York on June 3.

On the occasion, Mr Olson felicitated the finance minister on the successful conclusion of the 11th Review with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance today. He said it was a creditable achievement as it indicated the government’s commitment to reforms and economic stabilisation.

The finance minister said that the reform programme agreed with the IMF was home-grown and the government remained fully committed to further economic reforms, wherever required, in the future.

Mr Olson informed the minister about preparations for the US-Pak Business Opportunities Conference.

He said that businessmen from both sides had shown great enthusiasm for the conference.

The finance minister said that such events would provide traders from both sides the opportunity to have direct interaction and establish joint ventures and partnerships. He regretted, however, that he would not be able to personally participate in the conference due to budget-related engagements.

Mr Dar and Mr Olson reaffirmed their shared commitment to expand and deepen trade and economic ties between the two countries. The minister said that US Exim Bank’s planned financing for the 3600MW LNG-based power projects in the country would open new avenues of bilateral cooperation.

Officials of US Embassy and Ministry of Finance were also present in the meeting.

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