Friday, July 16, 2004

Richard Armitage calls on Prime Minister

Richard Armitage calls on Prime Minister

ISLAMABAD : The US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage called on Prime Minister Ch. Shujaat Hussain here on Thursday. Armitage congratulated the Prime Minister on assuming his office. The Prime Minister said Pakistan valued friendship with the United States and looked forward to a broad based and durable partnership between the two countries.

The Prime Minister exchanged views with Armitage on the wide ranging bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and the United States as well as important regional developments including Pakistan-India dialogue process and Afghanistan. The meeting was characterized by complete agreement on pursuing close bilateral ties and joining efforts to promote peace and stability in the region.

Armitage stated that the US stood for long term friendship with Pakistan beyond the ongoing war on terrorism. The Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction at the revived US economic and security assistance to Pakistan. He said Pakistan ha been a victim of terrorism and the Government was committed to pursuing vigorously the hunt for those indulging in terrorist activities to rid the country of the threat posed by them.

Earlier, Armitage had meetings with Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, Foreign Minister Khurshid M. Kasuri and Foreign Secretary Riaz H. Khokhar. The discussions held in theses meetings enabled the two sides to review in depth the present state of cooperation in diverse sectors with emphasis on economic and security assistance.

The talks between Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar and Deputy Secretary Armitage also covered important international subjects including the forthcoming elections in Afghanistan and the situation in Iraq. Armitage said he was encouraged by the commencement of India-Pakistan dialogue. The Foreign Secretary said Pakistan had a positive attitude toward the dialogue process with India and expected discussions on substantive issues including Kashmir in the next round.

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