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Foreign Minister Bilawal, Blinken discuss Pakistan’s economic recovery, Afghanistan

US State Secretary Antony Blinken discussed the United States’ support for Pakistan’s “economic recovery” and “shared regional concerns including Afghanistan” in a phone call with Foreign Minister Bilawal-Bhutto Zardari, it emerged on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement that Blinken spoke on the phone with Bilawal to “reaffirm a productive US-Pakistan partnership”.

“Secretary Blinken underscored the United States’ steadfast commitment to the people of Pakistan, highlighting that the economic success of Pakistan remains a top priority for the US,” Miller said.

He further said that Blinken noted that the US would continue to engage with Pakistan through technical and development initiatives and through robust trade and investment ties.

Blinken also welcomed the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) approval of the agreement with Islamabad and “encouraged continued reforms to promote economic recovery and prosperity,” he said.

“Secretary Blinken stressed that democratic principles and respect for the rule of law are central to the US-Pakistan relationship and these values will continue to guide this partnership forward,” Miller said.

The US state secretary also noted that the Pakistan people had suffered tremendously from terrorist attacks and “affirmed the United States’ commitment to continued partnership with Pakistan on counterterrorism”.

Blinken and Bilawal also discussed the destabilising effects of Russia’s war against Ukraine as well as the US and Pakistan’s shared interest in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, Miller added.

The phone call between the two came hours after US Central Com­mand (Centcom) chief General Michael Erik Kurilla, in a meeting  with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir, recognised Pakistan’s “continued efforts” for bringing peace and stability to the region.

According to the Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR), Gen Kurilla called on Gen Munir in Rawalpindi.

“The visiting dignitary acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan Army’s successes in [the] fight against terrorism and Pakistan’s continued efforts for bringing peace and stability in the region,” the statement said.

“During the meeting, matters of mutual interest, [the] regional security situation and defence cooperation were discussed,” the ISPR added. It stated that both sides reiterated the desire to further enhance bilateral relations in all fields.