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US Secretary of State Blinken meets Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal in New York

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United Nations, May 18 (PTI) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday met Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at the UN headquarters here and their talks focussed on regional security as well as strengthening bilateral economic and commercial ties.

Foreign Minister Bilawal is on a maiden visit to the US at the invitation of Blinken to attend the ministerial meeting on the “Global Food Security Call to Action” to be held at the United Nations later Wednesday. The US is President of the UN Security Council for the month of May and Blinken is in New York to convene meetings to mobilise action on global food security.

In his remarks before his meeting with Bilawal, the first face-to-face interaction between the two ministers, Blinken said Washington is “very pleased” to be working with the foreign minister and with a new government in Pakistan.

“We’re both here, of course, first and foremost for the ministerial meeting we’re having a little bit later today on food security. This is a challenge that we’re seeing around the world. There was a pre-existing condition, as it were, when it comes to food insecurity in many places. It’s been exacerbated dramatically by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, adding another 40 million people to those who are food insecure,” he said.

Blinken added that “this is an important opportunity” for the two countries to “talk about the many issues where we’re working together.” “We want to focus on the work we’re doing to strengthen our economic and commercial ties between the US and Pakistan; of course, focus on regional security. And Pakistan is now in the chairmanship of the G77 and the United States is looking forward to strengthening our own relations and dialogue and communication with the G77,” he said.

Bilawal said Islamabad is aware that recent geopolitical events have aggravated the global food security situation “and countries like Pakistan have already been facing challenges in food security, water security, energy insecurity because of a whole host of issues ranging from climate change to issues in our neighbourhood. So this particular initiative is most welcome and most important.” He said he looks forward to increasing engagement between Pakistan and the US, working with the Biden administration to “improve trade relations between Pakistan and the US and create opportunities for American investors, and Pakistani investors, and Pakistani businessmen, and American entrepreneurs to work together.” Pakistan’s relations with the US have been lukewarm, especially under the Biden administration. The ties touched a new low after former prime minister Imran Khan, who was ousted last month through a Parliament vote, accused the US of conspiring to topple his government, a charge denied by the US government.

Bilawal also met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and underscored the importance attached to multilateralism and the UN in Pakistan’s foreign policy.

He stated that Pakistan adheres firmly to the principles of the UN Charter and has always supported solutions to global issues in accordance with those principles. He also raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir during the meeting.

India has repeatedly told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir “was, is and shall forever” remain an integral part of the country. It also advised Pakistan to accept the reality and stop all anti-India propaganda.

India has said it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence. PTI YAS ZH ZH

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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