Comprehensive dialogue with US

FOREIGN Office spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal confirmed on Thursday that a comprehensive dialogue with the United States is underway to thrash out differences of perception on various issues including reimbursements under Coalition Support Fund. He pointed out that the renewed engagement between the two countries started when Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi held meetings with American leadership on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York and was followed by exchange of several visits.
Approval of $700m under CSF is also an indication that the dialogue is moving in the right direction and there is some flexibility in the otherwise hard posture adopted by the United States as was evident from the new strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia, some elements of which are being agitated by Pakistan. Earlier, during visit of the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, it was reported that Washington has held out an assurance to Pakistan that role of India in Afghanistan would be limited to only economic aspects and cooperation. We have been emphasising in these columns that Pakistan must remain engaged with the United States in talks, as this is the only option to hammer out differences and forge cooperation. The United States understandably has its own interests, objectives and goals in this part of the world to secure but it is also to be kept in view that Pakistan is geographical reality of the region and it has to secure its own interests. Both the countries are on the same page as for as the need to eliminate the menace of terrorism is concerned, as there can be no progress, development and stability without ensuring sustainable peace. But there are differences on approach with the United States that is once again relying heavily on use of force while Pakistan is calling for dialogue and reconciliation. Anyhow, the two countries are now having serious discussions and putting across their concerns and point of view plainly and there are reasons to believe that they would succeed in arriving at a consensus ultimately. Previous terms of engagements were heavily tilted in favour of the United States and there are legitimate complaints in Pakistan that the country suffered heavily and has not been compensated adequately. In this backdrop, our interlocutors must keep aspirations of the people of Pakistan in view while finalising any new arrangement with the United States.

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