Pakistan and USA agree to remain engaged as Abbasi meets vice president Mike Pence
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met US Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, with the two sides resolving to remain engaged and carry forward the relationship that has been on a downward trajectory since announcement of the US policy for Afghanistan and South Asia.
Abbasi’s meeting with VP Pence is the highest contact between the two sides since the policy was announced on Aug 21. Pakistan had after the policy announcement postponed the then planned bilateral interactions.
The meeting on the sidelines of the 72nd UNGA session in New York was held in a cordial atmosphere, a handout issued by the Foreign Office said.
“Prime Minister [Abbasi] shared Pakistan’s concerns and views with regard to the US strategy for South Asia,” it said.
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Abbasi and Pence agreed to work together to carry forward the bilateral relationship and discussed matters relating to peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.
“It was agreed that the two countries would stay engaged with a constructive approach to achieve shared objectives of peace, stability and economic prosperity in the region,” the FO statement said.
In his opening remarks, the US vice president greeted Abbasi on behalf of President Donald Trump. He recalled the strategy articulated by Trump on South Asia and said the US valued its relationship with Pakistan, a long term partnership for security in the region.
Fractious Pakistan-US relations got further strained last month when President Trump unveiled his administration’s policy on Afghanistan and South Asia. The policy lays special emphasis on kinetic operations to subdue Taliban militancy in Afghanistan, envisions greater role for India in Afghanistan and the overall regional security, and has been particularly hawkish on Pakistan accusing it of being an insincere partner in the fight against terrorism.
The new policy, which was seen here as humiliating, disrespectful to Pakistani sacrifices in the fight against terrorism, and indifferent to Islamabad’s security concerns, prompted a re-assessment of ties at the highest level.