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FM Qureshi Returns To Homeland After US Trip

Islamabad (October 05, 2018): Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has returned to the homeland in the wee hours of Friday after concluding the 14-day trip to the United States.

Qureshi visited Washington and New York and met with the top US leadership, as well as Pakistani representatives at the Embassy and delegations of various countries on the sidelines of the General Assembly’s 73rd session at the United Nations headquarters.

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The foreign minister, during his trip, led the Pakistani delegation at the UN General Assembly and addressed the 195 member states on the fifth day of the 73rd UN session.

He also held talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, with whom he discussed the South Asian regional issues and matters of mutual interest.

On the sidelines of the UNGA, Qureshi also met with delegations and representatives of more than 40 countries. FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi arrived at Islamabad airport via a private airline in the wee hours of Friday.

Earlier on October 04, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said that he effectively presented Pakistan’s point of view during his visit to the US and added that the relations between Pakistan and the US witnessed a significant headway under the prevailing government.

While addressing a news conference in Washington, Qureshi said bilateral engagements between Pakistan and the United States have also enhanced and improved.

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He added that there has been a positive change in Pak-US ties after the recent US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Pakistan.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pak-US ties should not be seen in the context of Afghanistan. He said any kind of development in Afghanistan is not possible sans Pakistan.The Foreign Minister said he held various meetings with the world leaders, think-tanks and overseas Pakistanis during his visit to the United States and he effectively presented Pakistan’s stance on the host of issues.

Replying to a question, the Foreign Minister said no meeting was scheduled between him and the International Monitory Fund during his visit. However, he said he apprised the World Bank leaders about Pakistan’s stance on the prevailing water crisis in the country. Shah Mahmood Qureshi also invited members of the US Congress to visit Pakistan.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi left for Pakistan after concluding the successful 10-day US trip.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said that Pakistan wanted stability in South Asia and a developed and peaceful Afghanistan was very imperative for peace in Pakistan and in the region as well.

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While addressing in US Institute of Peace in Washington, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan has great concerns over the terrorists’ hideouts in Afghanistan which are being used to attack on Pakistan.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan has rendered unprecedented sacrifices in war on terror and the International Community should acknowledge Pakistan efforts in this regard.

The foreign minister said Pakistan wants relations with United States based on mutual interest and respect.

Qureshi reiterated that Islamabad should not be blamed for the difficulties in Afghanistan. The foreign minister suggested that both countries should look forward towards the positives. “Our common goal is peace,” he added. Qureshi further said that 2.7 million Afghan refugees reside in Pakistan.The foreign minister said that baseless allegations would further cause negative impacts on the bilateral ties, suggesting that both countries have no option but to trust each other. He said, “We are determined for the complete eradication of terrorism.”

Speaking at the United States Institute of Peace to share the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s strategy for engaging with the United States, he said Pakistan is willing to bring Taliban to the dialogue table as peace in Afghanistan is linked with peace in Pakistan.“We can’t be peaceful if there is no peace in Afghanistan. But, we’ll have to have that collective approach to resolve the issue … It’s a shared responsibility and there are now more players involved,” said the foreign minister, adding that Pakistan’s influence on Taliban has diminished but the country will leave no stone unturned for the resumption of peace talks.

Earlier on October 03, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had met with United States State Secretary Mike Pompeo in Washington.

In his 20-minute meeting with the secretary of state, the two discussed bilateral issues and matters pertaining to regional security.

 According to a statement issued by a spokesperson for the Pakistani Foreign Office, Qureshi stressed to Pompeo that “peace in South Asia, which was a common goal of both the United States and Pakistan, would remain elusive until all disputes, including the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir, are resolved”.

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The Pakistani foreign minister called on the US state secretary here at the Department of State office, in what became his third meeting with his American counterpart this month, after the latter invited him to visit Washington during his visit to Islamabad last month.

Close engagement between the two countries, he added, had always been mutually beneficial and a factor for stability in South Asia. “Going forward, a broad-based and structured framework for dialogue would best serve the two countries’ shared interests,” he said in the statement.Pakistan maintained that it wants to work with the US to bring peace and prosperity in Afghanistan, he said, while the US President Donald Trump’s administration seeks Islamabad’s help in negotiating talks with the Taliban.

The foreign minister had categorically declared last week that he would be candid with his American counterpart.

“Disappointments come in when we make promises that we can not deliver on, so we have to be careful in what we commit to, and, when we commit to something, we should honour it,” he said.

The two leaders agreed on their nations’ common desire for peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region at large, with Qureshi noting that the use of force had failed to deliver results. Pompeo, on the other hand, appreciated Islamabad’s support for a political reconciliation in Kabul and its efforts for peace in the region.Both sides agreed that the time was ripe for the Afghan Taliban to avail the chance at a political settlement by seizing the opportunity for dialogue.

Qureshi was accompanied by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Ali Jahangir Siddiqui, the Pakistani Ambassador to the US.

Earlier, during his meeting with Bolton at the White House, Qureshi said Pakistan welcomed and supported the US’ renewed efforts towards for a political resolution for the Afghan conflict. He reiterated Islamabad’s long-held position that there was no military solution to the situation in Kabul, according to the FO statement.

The foreign minister stated that Pakistan would continue to support the efforts for an Afghan-owned and -led peace and reconciliation process in its westside neighbour. Referring to Islamabad’s continued efforts to positively engage the national unity government in Afghanistan, Qureshi underlined that the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) offered the most effective mechanism to promote the mutually-beneficial cooperation between the two neighbouring states, the statement added.

The foreign minister also briefed his hosts, especially Washington’s security advisor, about India’s rising aggressive posturing in the South Asian region and underscored that Islamabad remained committed to engaging New Delhi in a comprehensive peace dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues, including the Kashmir dispute.The two leaders agreed that a continued cooperation between Pakistan and the US was in the interest of regional peace and security in South Asia.

Qureshi had arrived in Washington DC on Sunday for talks on bilateral relations with US officials following his trip to New York for the United Nation’s General Assembly session.Pompeo and Qureshi first met in Islamabad early in September, when the US government approached the new Pakistani government to discuss key issues that have strained decades-old ties between the two countries.

In a briefing about his earlier meeting, Pompeo said that following the election of Prime Minister Imran Khan in July, the US “wanted to get out there at the beginning of his time in an effort to reset the relationship between the two countries”.

It was during his Islamabad visit that Pompeo invited the Pakistani foreign minister to visit Washington for further talks.

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Earlier during an Interview with an American TV, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday said that the purpose of his visit to the US was not to seek aid but build deteriorating ties between the two countries.

“I am not here to talk for dollars and cents, I am not here to seek aid,”

The foreign minister said that Pakistan wants to fix ‘a relationship that went sour – a relationship that has mutually-benefited both sides.’

“We have been allies for a long time, it is time to rebuild that powerful relationship,” Qureshi said.Talking about Dr Shakil Afridi, the foreign minister said that the issue could be discussed with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Afridi’s future, Qureshi further said, lies not with politics but with the courts.

“We have a legal process. Afridi went through that legal process, he was given a fair chance to plead his case. He was sentenced, he was convicted and is serving a sentence,” Qureshi added. “We expect you to respect our legal process, as we respect yours.” Qureshi represented Pakistan at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week. He is scheduled to meet Pompeo in Washington on Tuesday

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