ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his first meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington next week will raise key security, energy and economic issues, seeking greater market access for Pakistan as well as better understanding of the PML-N government’s position on the multiple challenges faced by the country.
On two major issues of economic recovery and Afghanistan, Pakistan will be looking for breakthroughs during Nawaz Sharif’s upcoming trip.
The Prime Minister who is all set to embark on his first bilateral visit to the US tomorrow (Sunday) is slated to meet the US President on October 23. In his current term this will be Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s first bilateral visit to the US.
Announcing his visit Friday, the Foreign Office spokesperson said: “The upcoming visit of the Prime Minister will afford an opportunity to highlight the priorities of the government for economic development of Pakistan, discuss measures to strengthen bilateral cooperation and enhance trade and investment and share his vision about peace and stability in our region.”
During his four-day official visit starting October 20, the PM will also meet US Vice President Biden and interact with members of the Congress. Ahead of the summit meeting, President Obama’s top aides including secretaries of state and defence and other senior officials will call on the Prime Minister.
The agenda of the visit was finalised at a high-level meeting chaired by the PM that brought together top civil-military leadership here on Tuesday, just a day after formal consultations with President Obama’s point-man for Pakistan and Afghanistan, James Dobbins, who was here to discuss details of the PM’s forthcoming visit.
On this high profile visit the PM will be accompanied by his national security adviser Sartaj Aziz, special assistant on foreign affairs Tariq Fatemi, finance minister Ishaq Dar and foreign secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani who is to take charge as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US most likely later next month.
During his stay in Washington the Prime Minister who will attend a business event organised by US-Pakistan Business Council, address the United States Institute of Peace and interact with the Pakistani-American community, the Foreign Office said.
The PM would brief the US Administration on his domestic plans for Pakistan’s economic revival, energy sufficiency, greater allocation and priority for education, and counter-terrorism initiatives, sources said.
“We will not ask for aid but seek greater market access,” an official privy to the agenda said. Pakistan would be seeking greater assistance from the US on education outreach, particularly in the IT sector, he added.
“A major thrust would be that given it is the first-ever smooth transition from one democratically elected government to another, the present government in Pakistan should be supported as it has chalked out a roadmap to a moderate, modern Muslim state which could be a role model for the region and other Muslim countries,” according to a source close to the PM.