Washington: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at the State Department on Monday.—AFP

US to donate $10 million for food security aid, says Blinken

Washington: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at the State Department on Monday.—AFP

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday he was pleased to announce an additional $10 million for food security assistance, adding that he was sending a simple message: “We are here for Pakistan as we have been in the past”.

Secretary Blinken said this during a meeting with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari where they had a “good, engaging and in-depth conversation” on a host of issues.

During the meeting, Mr. Blinken also spoke about managing a responsible relationship with India. He said, “Our colleagues also talked about China, and we also talked critically about deepening our relationship.”

Secretary Blinken said: “We are confident that we are doing much more on trade and confident that the [bilateral] The relationship is strong and will continue to be.

During a meeting with Bilawal, swears to rebuild ties

During the meeting, Mr. Blinken also said, “We are meeting as one-third of Pakistan [area] is under water. We have a sense of urgency and a sense of determination. We plan to rebuild [bilateral ties].”

He further said that the two countries have worked together on mutual threats and worked together on counter-terrorism and shared common goals on Afghanistan.

“This is a resilient relationship that can overcome any challenge,” Secretary Blinken said.

FM Bhutto-Zardari arrived in Washington on Sunday evening with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and other members of her team.

Shortly after his arrival, the Minister of Foreign Affairs met Dilawar Syed, Special Representative of the US State Department for Commercial Affairs, and discussed with him various options for expanding commercial relations.

During the meeting, Syed “highlighted the role of the American private sector in rebuilding infrastructure after the floods,” the foreign secretary said in a tweet.

He added that he had also “highlighted Pakistan’s potential and sought to increase American investment” in the country and in the government’s green energy plan.

Mr Syed said that when meeting with the Foreign Minister he expressed “our solidarity with the millions of Pakistanis affected by the devastating floods”, adding that the United States was leading the international effort to support Pakistan with initial direct assistance of $53 million. “We discussed continuing my recent visit to Islamabad to expand US-Pakistan economic relations,” he said.

The United States is Pakistan’s largest export market and a major source of foreign investment, with US direct investment increasing by 50% over the past year. US-Pakistan bilateral trade reached nearly $9 billion in 2021.

US companies and their local affiliates are among the largest employers in Pakistan, with approximately 80 US companies directly employing over 125,000 Pakistanis and over one million Pakistanis indirectly employed. In 2021, American companies invested up to $5.7 million in corporate social responsibility initiatives in Pakistan.

Mr. Bhutto-Zardari also met with American business leaders, representatives of various American companies and prominent members of the Pakistani American community at the residence of the Pakistani Ambassador.

During a briefing prior to DawnState Department adviser Derek Chollet acknowledged that the United States wanted to maintain friendly ties with Pakistan and did not want Pakistan to abandon China to improve relations with Washington.

During a meeting with a delegation from Medicines San Frontier (MSF), the Minister of Foreign Affairs appreciated the role that this international NGO plays in providing health services to people affected by the floods.

The MSF is an international organization of doctors that provides medical services to people around the world.

Posted in Dawn, September 27, 2022

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