FM Bilawal Bhutto prepares for US visit to control damage

ISLAMABAD - Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is preparing for a visit to the United States in a bid to control damage amid tension between Islamabad and Washington.

The Pakistan-US ties have been shaky for a while and worsened after former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to Russia just ahead of the Ukraine invasion. During a recent telephonic contact, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had invited Pakistan for both the Second Covid Global Summit to be held virtually later this month, and a ministerial meeting on Global Food Security to be held in New York on May 18.

Blinken’s call came after Imran Khan accused the US of hatching a conspiracy to oust him from office. Washington has consistently denied any role in Pakistan’s internal processes which saw the opposition come together to vote out Khan in a no-confidence motion last month. The Foreign Minister, who is also the chairman of the Pakistan’s Peoples Party, said in a post on Twitter that he was grateful for Blinken’s warm felicitations. They exchanged views on “strengthening mutually beneficial, broad based relationship” and “promotion of peace, development and security” and agreed that “engagement with mutual respect is the way forward”, he added.

| Foreign Minister wants improved ties with all countries including US

During his visit, Bilawal likely to meet Blinken

A close aide of the FM told The Nation that in principle, Bilawal was ready to visit the US but a final announcement was being delayed for consultations. “Bilawal wants improved ties with all the countries including the US. He believed the Pakistan-US ties have a history and must not fall to misunderstandings,” he said. Another official said the preparations were on for the important visit. “If the visit is finalised, Bilawal will also have a separate meeting with Blinken,” he maintained.

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