US should restore Pakistan’s military financing, sales: Masood Khan

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan on Thursday urged Washington to restore foreign military financing and foreign military sales for Islamabad, which was suspended by the Trump administration.

Addressing a conference on ‘The Future of Pakistan-US relations’ at renowned US think-tank Wilson Centre, Khan cautioned about the serious perils of the policy of imbalance in South Asia, urging the US to “revive its role on strategic stability in South Asia”.

He further reiterated that Islamabad “consulted” Washington before signing the crude oil with Russia, clarifying that there is no misunderstanding between the two countries on the matter.

Last week, Pakistan placed its first order for Russian crude oil under a deal between Islamabad and Moscow with one cargo to dock at Karachi port in May

The development sparked concerns that the authorities have irked the US; however, a day earlier US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel also clarified that Washington has no objection to Pakistan’s decision to import oil from Russia.

Khan, while addressing the conference, said that Pakistan seeks to forge strong ties with the US and make them stronger.

“We do not believe our relations with China should affect them in any way. We earnestly hope that the US, the shining city upon a hill, and China, an emerging power, using their statesmanship, will opt for cooperation and competition rather than a confrontation that can plunge the globe into strife or worse,” he said.

Khan said: “Pakistan offers to build bridges in good faith and facilitate communication between the two powers, if they so desire, as it did back in the 1970s.”

Terming Pak-US ties as “a relationship of the future generations”, Ambassador Khan said that after a brief period of uncertainty, the two states were successfully recalibrating and rejuvenating their relations in the wake of changing circumstances.

“The results in a short span of time are impressive,” he said.

Referring to frequent high-level contacts between Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Pak-US dialogues on health, energy, climate change, counter-narcotics, counterterrorism and defence and the recently held Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Ministerial Council meeting, Khan said that these processes were producing results and defining pathways for future growth.

“They are also creating a structure for an overarching, multi-dimensional dialogue”, he continued.

He further highlighted the confluence of shared values and ideas that bind the people of Pakistan and the United States and brought them into alliances for advancing shared strategic purposes including rolling back aggression in Afghanistan and combating the scourge of terrorism.

Khan further confirmed that Bilawal would be attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Conference in Goa in early May. “The context is multilateral, not bilateral. Let’s hope that this decision goes down well to bolster diplomacy,” he continued.

He said that the US encourages India and Pakistan to engage. “But beyond that, the US could act as a catalyst to help resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute which has kept the region on the brink of war.”

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