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Regional stability, situation in Iran, Afghanistan tops the talks between Qureshi and Pompeo

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has stressed on Islamabad’s commitment toward “security and stability” in South Asia as he met U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington and held wide-ranging talks on bilateral issues, the situation in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Mr. Qureshi called on Mr. Pompeo on January 17 during his two-day visit to the U.S. He is scheduled to meet U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien. On January 16, he met lawmakers at the U.S. Capitol.

“In my meeting today with U.S. Secretary of State @SecPompeo, discussed engagement between Pakistan and U.S., its mutual benefit, along with it being a factor for stability in South Asia. Exchanged how stronger trade & investment is imp for an enduring partnership,” Mr. Qureshi said in a tweet after the meeting.

Mr. Qureshi also expressed his “deep concerns” over the situation in Kashmir and said that “peace in South Asia is elusive until this is resolved in accordance with U.N. resolutions & wishes of Kashmiris.”

Mr. Qureshi, while addressing the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think-tank in Washington on January 16, reiterated Pakistan’s demand that U.S. President Donald Trump should mediate to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Ties between India and Pakistan came under severe strain after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories on August 5, evoking strong reactions from Islamabad.

Pakistan has been trying to rally international support against India on the issue. However, India has maintained that the move was “entirely an internal matter”.

On the Afghan peace process, the two leaders termed it as a “shared responsibility” and spoke about the importance of U.S.-Pakistan cooperation to bring peace in the region.

“The convergence between Pakistan & U.S. stands as a unique opp for peace in Afghanistan, ultimately a shared responsibility,” he said in another tweet.

They also discussed about the latest developments in the Middle East arising out of the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani by a U.S. drone strike and the Gulf country reiterating with hitting the U.S. air bases in Iraq.

“Discussed recent developments in ME and reiterated Pakistan will continue to play part for peace in entire region. We are committed to security & stability,” Mr. Qureshi said.

State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said that “Iran’s malign activities in the region” and bilateral economic ties were also discussed.

Mr. Pompeo, in a tweet, said they “discussed countering Iranian aggression, the Afghan peace process, trade ties, and regional stability”.

According to the Dawn newspaper, Mr. Qureshi also briefed Mr. Pompeo about discussions held during his recent visits to Iran and Saudi Arabia.

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