Aziz, Kerry agree on cooperation in security affairs


Joint Pak-US strategic discussion communiqué says Pakistan has central role in the Afghan reconciliation process

Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and United States Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday mutually agreed on cooperation in the regional and international security affairs including Kashmir issue as well as on nuclear non-proliferation.

A joint communiqué of the strategic discussion between Sartaj Aziz and John Kerry has been issued. The declaration stated that Pakistan has central role in the reconciliation process.

Sartaj Aziz and John Kerry met on February 29 in Washington to convene the sixth ministerial-level Pakistan-US Strategic Dialogue. The last ministerial-level Strategic Dialogue was held in Islamabad on January 13, 2015. This session built on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s successful visit to Washington in October 2015, with the two sides reiterating their commitment to further strengthening the United States’ and Pakistan’s strong, multifaceted partnership across a range of critical issues, as exemplified by the framework of the Strategic Dialogue.

Both sides expressed their conviction that a robust, long-term bilateral relationship remains critical to the regional and international security and prosperity. Both sides agreed that a strong, prosperous, and democratic Pakistan is an essential partner for the United States in advancing these shared goals. As such, the United States and Pakistan have a shared and enduring interest in Pakistan’s continued economic growth and prosperity, increased bilateral trade and investment, education and social development, respect for human rights and rule of law, regional stability, and ongoing collaboration on measures to counter violent extremism and combat terrorism.

The two reaffirmed the importance of the Strategic Dialogue, which provides vision and direction for this bilateral partnership, and reviewed progress made in its six working groups, which represent core areas of joint interest and cooperation, Energy, Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation, the Defense Consultative Group, Law Enforcement and Counterterrorism, Economics and Finance and, Education, Science, and Technology. They also acknowledged the importance of sustaining cooperation on shared interests through US civilian assistance, in line with the intent of legislation known as the “Kerry-Lugar-Berman” act. Finally, they charged the Working Groups with continuing to meet according to a mutually determined schedule.

Secretary Kerry and Advisor Aziz reaffirmed their shared commitment to expand and deepen bilateral trade, investment and environmental cooperation. Secretary Kerry commended the steps Pakistan has taken to implement an economic reforms agenda, which has advanced Pakistan’s macroeconomic stability and improved growth, including the government’s commitment to complete the set of home grown reforms that are being supported by the World Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and other multilateral financial institutions. Both sides affirmed that continued reforms will make Pakistan more economically competitive and attractive for foreign investment.

Both sides agreed that the modernisation of Pakistan’s economy through better technology, improved business climate, entrepreneurship, enhanced worker rights, and opportunities for women will drive the country’s economic growth.