ISLAMABAD - Advisor to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Friday said visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Washington would focus on discussions on bilateral issues, future of Pak-US relations and the regional situation.
He made these remarks while talking to newsmen here at Foreign Office, after inaugurating the newly constructed Consular Section.
Sartaj said that Pakistan and United States have many common interests like trade and economic ties and other issues, which will be discussed during the meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Obama.
The advisor said that strategic dialogue with the US will resume early 2014 and heads of various working groups would meet before the resumption of dialogue process.
The Advisor said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would also discuss post-2014 situation of the region with US President Obama and Pakistan’s relations with United Nations beyond 2014 as in the past these ties remained over shadowed due to Afghan situation.
Commenting on the release of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Baradar, he said that he has been released on the request of Afghan High Peace Council so that he could participate in the reconciliation process.
He said that Mullah Baradar is free and could meet any one adding that he has been contacting the Taliban leadership so that the reconciliation process initiated by the Afghan government could be completed.
He said that Pakistan is committed to work with Afghanistan and regional and international partners to promote the common goals of peace, stability and prosperity in the region and beyond. Sartaj Aziz said that Pak-Afghan relations have been improved.
On the issue of talks with Taliban, Sartaj Aziz said that it is very sensitive issue; therefore, its details should not be discussed in the media. He however promised that media would be briefed about the development on the talks with Taliban.
Regarding appointment of Secretary Foreign Affairs as Pakistan’s ambassador to United States, Sartaj Aziz said the decision has been taken on merit adding that other appointments of Pakistani envoys including at United Nations are being made on merit.
He said that people would also be appointed on merit on the 20 percent quota of ambassadors for non-cadre posts.
To another question, he said that Director General Military Operations of Pakistan and India would meet very soon as date for their meeting is being finalized.
Commenting on new counter terrorism strategy being devised in the light of All Parties Conference, the Advisor said it has been almost finalized and will be presented to the cabinet for approval.
Answering a question about the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project and the US threat of imposing sanctions on it, Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan is re-negotiating the project with Iran and after the finalization of the negotiation; the issue of external pressure would be discussed.
He expressed the hope that economy of the country would boost following the measures being taken by the present government. He was of the view that recent price hike was due to fiscal deficit and balance of payment inherited by the present government and it had nothing to do with Pakistan’s agreement with IMF.