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Trump, Qureshi agree on rebuilding Pak-US ties


9/26/2018
ISLAMABAD/United Nations - Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday met President Donald Trump at a reception the US leader held for the world leaders attending the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly.
 
“I met with President Trump at the reception where I had the opportunity to discuss Pak-US relations with him. I requested him that we have had cordial relations and need to rebuild them,” Qureshi said while speaking to PTV.
 
The foreign minister said that he received a “positive response” from President Trump who said they also intend to “rebuild” their relations as well.
 
Furthermore, Qureshi said that he also met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the reception who expressed his sentiments of goodwill for Pakistan. This was their second meeting within a month. The US top diplomat visited Islamabad earlier this month.
 
Both leaders are set to hold another meeting on October 2 in Washington.
 
Qureshi said that Pompeo also sent his greetings to Prime Minister Imran Khan. “Send my regards to your leader,” Pompeo told Qureshi.
 
FM Qureshi is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on Saturday, September 29.
 
WB INITIATIVE TO RESOLVE WATER DISPUTES
 
The World Bank is finalising a fresh initiative to resolve the dispute over the Indian construction of the Kishanganga and Ratle projects, saying the multilateral lender would soon contact Pakistan and India, the bank chief, Jim Young Kim, has said.
 
Kim said this during a meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, after the Pakistani leader presented his government’s position on these projects in “a forceful and emphatic manner”, according to an official statement received in Islamabad.
 
The focus of the meeting was the World Bank’s role in implementation of the Indus Water Treaty between Pakistan and India as its administrator.
 
The foreign minister said Indian construction of the Kishanganga and Ratle projects represented a violation of the 1960 treaty, which gave Pakistan exclusive rights to western rivers.
 
He emphasised that the procedural delay on Pakistan’s request to the World Bank to empanel the Court of Arbitration had resulted in completion of the Kishanganga project while construction work on Ratle was in progress.
 
Qureshi said the new government viewed this as a humanitarian issue with lives and livelihood of millions at stake, adding it was not interested in politicising the issue.
 
The World Bank chief said while he understood Pakistan’s position on the treaty, he expressed the bank’s desire to play a constructive role in resolving this important matter at the earliest.
 
In this context, he remarked that with the ongoing challenge of climate change water issues were likely to be more prominent on the international agenda.
 
The meeting was conducted in a cordial and frank manner. Both sides resolved to maintain regular contacts at various levels to seek an early and amicable settlement to the issue.
 
‘PAKISTAN BUILDS WORLD PRESSURE ON INDIA’
 
Pakistan is building international pressure on India after New Delhi rejected foreign minister-level talks with Islamabad on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly session, officials said on Tuesday.
 
The officials at the Foreign Ministry told The Nation that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was holding a series of meetings on the sidelines of the UNGA and trying to convince everybody on Pakistan’s stance.
 
One official said: “He (Qureshi) has some big meetings left in the trip and we have made it a point to promote our (Pakistan) stance. India is running away from dialogue, it is very clear.” He added: “The aim is not to target India but to convince others that we are right. Importantly, the people are listening to us (Pakistan). We are trying to build international pressure on India.”
 
Before leaving for the US, Qureshi had said that he was very much disappointed over India’s refusal to carry out meeting at the UNGA.
 
He said that New Delhi had once again demonstrated hesitation, adding that he was shocked and surprised with the development. “Dialogue is the only way to resolve all outstanding issues,” he asserted.
 
This month, Prime Minister Imran Khan has sent a clear message to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to resume talks and resolve bilateral issues. Khan’s letter was in response to Modi’s own communication to him seeking a ‘meaningful and constructive’ engagement between the two countries.
 
India had initially agreed for External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s meeting with Qureshi on the sidelines of the UNGSA but later changed the decision.
 
Another official at the foreign ministry said that Pakistan’s offer for talks with India was still valid. “We are ready if they (India) are serious for peace in the region. They have always run away from talks,” he maintained.
 
Yesterday, Congressman Joe Wilson, a Republican member of the House of Representatives from South Carolina, called on Foreign Minister Qureshi in New York. Wilson serves on both the House Foreign Affairs and the House Armed Services Committees.
 
During the meeting, the Foreign Minister outlined his government’s domestic and foreign policy priorities. He said the support of young Pakistanis had played a major role in the election victory of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, said a foreign ministry statement issued in Islamabad.
 
Qureshi also shared Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision for a peaceful neighbourhood, which was critical to achieving the government’s ambitious socio-economic plans for Pakistan.
 
He said Pakistan desired a broad-based relationship with the United States that was based on mutual trust and respect. Appreciating Congressional assistance for enhancing Pakistan’s counter-terrorism capacity in the past, the Foreign Minister noted that Pakistan had successfully turned the corner in its fight against terrorism at a great cost of human life and resources.
 
Wilson emphasised the need for continued cooperation between the two countries for achieving their common objectives in the region.
 
Earlier, Qureshi attended the 25th Informal Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Economic Cooperation Organisation, held on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UNGA.
 
Qureshi, while recognising the importance of the ECO platform, said Pakistan enjoys fraternal and brotherly relations with ECO member countries. These relations can be further strengthened with regional connectivity projects. In this regard the Minister highlighted China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as a great example of connectivity.
 
The Foreign Minister, referring to the last 13th ECO Summit held in Islamabad in 2017 with the theme of “Connectivity for Regional Prosperity” underscored Pakistan’s priority for energy connectivity.
 
He referred to the fact that some countries in the ECO region were energy deficient while others were energy surplus.  He also referred to projects such as Central Asia-South Asia-1000 and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline in which Pakistan was already participating.
 
In order to strengthen trade ties, the Foreign Minister supported revisiting the ECO trade agreement, which was aimed at promoting trade liberalization within the ECO region.
 
Qureshi said that out of Pakistan’s pledge of $5 million to the ECO fund for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, an amount of $2 million had already been paid to the ECO.
 
Foreign ministers of Pakistan and Kuwait have expressed satisfaction over the growth of friendly relations between the two countries, and vowed to further strengthen their cooperation.
 
Foreign Minister Qureshi and Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah, who met on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, noted that the Kuwait-Pakistan ties were “exemplary”, according to an official statement.
 
The Kuwaiti FM stressed that existing structured cooperation mechanisms in the political and the economic domains have provided a firm institutional basis to maintain a positive trajectory in their relations. Expressing the desire to further deepen and broaden this relationship, he noted that there was immense untapped potential especially in the energy sector.
 
On his part, Qureshi said Pakistan placed high priority to its fraternal relations with Kuwait. This was a relationship marked by close convergence of views on issues on mutual concern, including a shared vision for regional peace and stability.
 
The FM emphasised the need to further enhance trade and investments in various sectors including agriculture, agro-industries, fisheries and oil exploration in Pakistan. He added easing visa regimes will contribute to this end.
 
Qureshi accepted an invitation from Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah to visit Kuwait at the earliest. The foreign ministers expressed the confidence that such high-level visits will provide further impetus to the exemplary relations between the two countries.
 
Source: The Nation