Trust critical to enduring Pak-US partnership: Sartaj

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Rejects Afghan tendency to blame Pakistan for its problems

Washington—Pakistan on Monday expressed regrets over tendency to blame it for problems in Afghanistan, and hoped the 6th Ministerial Review of Pak-US Strategic Dialogue Process would provide an opportunity to review the broader challenges and regional developments and their impact on bilateral ties between the two countries.
In his opening remarks at the start of the Strategic Dialogue Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that the Kerry Lugar Berman Act and the revival of this Strategic Dialogue Framework have helped transformed Pak-US relations into a mutually beneficial partnership. US Secretary of State John Kerry led the US delegation at the talks.
Sartaj Aziz lauded the personal commitment of Secretary Kerry in strengthening Pakistan-US relationship over the years and expressed the confidence that the meeting will provide the opportunity to take stock of our relations in the light of detailed presentations on each of the six working groups. The Advisor recalled the overreaching principles he had put fourth during the January 2014 Ministerial Review in which he had emphasized on according primacy to the element of mutual trust at all levels and among all key institutions to build strategic convergence, instead of remaining captive to isolated tactical differences.
“The trust factor, therefore, remains critical to our enduring partnership,” the Advisor said while sharing his assessment of the significant changes that have occurred in Pakistan in the past two and a half years and the country’s efforts for peaceful neighborhood, consolidation of democracy, economic revival and countering terrorism and violent extremism.
On the outset of his assessment, the Advisor underlined the need of Pakistan being given its own strategic space, instead of being viewed through lenses borrowed from East or West. “We believe we have earned this over a history of result-oriented relationship.”
On Afghanistan, the Advisor expressed his regrets that there was tendency to blame Pakistan in a simplistic fashion for most of these challenges and the country was blamed to be pursuing a duplicitous policy.
“This narrative revives the unpleasant memories of the past when our relations had dipped to perhaps its lowest level in recent years,” the Advisor said and added that nothing can be farther from truth than to hold Pakistan responsible for the Afghan imbroglio.
He said Pakistan has suffered the most due to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan and actions taken by the government against terrorist groups of all shades and colors in North Waziristan have been unprecedented.
“At this critical juncture we have to avoid blame game, admit mistakes committed by all of us and closely cooperate and coordinate our respective policies,” he underscored.
Highlighting some of the recent development to demonstrate Pakistan’s sincere commitment to transform its relationship with Afghanistan, he said there was growing consensus that an Afghan led and Afghan owned peace and reconciliation process is the best way to achieve lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.—APP

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