Pakistan-US ties renewal under way, says Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the renewal of Pakistan-US ties was under way and that the two countries would be increasing their engagement in the coming days.
“There are indications of opening up. We must remember that the bilateral ties had come to an impasse,” he told journalists at the Foreign Office.
The foreign minister was responding to questions about the visit of Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells.
Ms Wells met Finance Minister Asad Umar and held delegation-level talks at the Foreign Office, which were also attended by officials from the ministries of interior and defence.
Mr Qureshi said the inter-ministerial session at the FO went well and Ms Wells informed the Pakistani side that senior US officials would be visiting Pakistan for talks on promoting trade and energy cooperation.
The foreign minister said that although Afghanistan still remained a major issue, the focus was gradually returning to bilateral aspects of the relationship. He said Ms Wells did discuss the Afghan reconciliation efforts and told the Pakistani side that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had constituted an advisory council to reach out to the Taliban.
The FO, meanwhile, in a statement said that the two sides during the meeting took stock of the understanding reached between Foreign Minister Qureshi and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to rebuild the relationship based on mutual trust and respect. The Pakistani side, it said, emphasised the need to diversify the relationship with particular focus on enhanced economic and trade cooperation and people to people contacts.
“The two sides agreed to continue efforts to promote the shared objectives of peace and stability in the region and diversify bilateral relationship,” it added.