Pakistan stresses structured framework for dialogue with US

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the US State Department in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 04 October 2018

Pakistan stresses structured framework for dialogue with US

  • Pakistan’s top diplomat held a series of meetings in Washington to rebuild engagements and to stay engaged for the stability of the region
  • Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s long-held position that there was no military solution to the situation in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo at the State Department on Tuesday for wide-ranging talks on bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest.

Pakistan’s top diplomat held a series of meetings in Washington to rebuild engagements and to stay engaged for the stability of the region.

“He (Qureshi) stressed that, going forward, a broad-based and structured framework for dialogue would best serve the two countries’ shared interests,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday while sharing the details of the meeting.

The foreign minister in a meeting said that Pakistan and the US shared a common desire for peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region at large.

“He reiterated Pakistan’s support for a political settlement in Afghanistan, noting that the use of force had failed to deliver results,” the statement said.

It added: “Both sides agreed that the time was ripe for the Afghan Taliban to avail themselves of  the opportunity for a political settlement by seizing the opportunity for dialogue.”

The foreign minister was assisted by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Ali Jehangir Siddiqui.

Qureshi, who is paying an official visit to Washington at Secretary Pompeo’s invitation, said that close engagement between Pakistan and the US had always been mutually beneficial and a factor for stability in South Asia.

While welcoming the foreign minister to the State Department, Secretary Pompeo said the US looked forward to working with the new government of Pakistan in implementing its reform agenda, the foreign minister confirmed.

Secretary Pompeo appreciated Pakistan’s support for political reconciliation in Afghanistan and its efforts for peace in the neighborhood, the Foreign Ministry said.

Qureshi also met US National Security Adviser John Bolton at the White House on Tuesday.

The two officials discussed Pakistan-US bilateral relations and the regional situation in South Asia, including the efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to the Afghan situation, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said.

Sharing Pakistan’s perspective, Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s long-held position that there was no military solution to the situation in Afghanistan.

In a meeting with Bolton, Qureshi underlined that the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) provided the most effective mechanism to promote mutually beneficial cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In the context of achieving stability in South Asia, Qureshi briefed his US interlocutor about India’s aggressive posturing in the region.

“After initially agreeing to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s peace initiative, the Government in India caved in to internal politics,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement that added: “FM Qureshi underscored that, on its part, Pakistan remained committed to engaging India in a comprehensive peace dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

“The two leaders agreed that continued Pakistan-US cooperation will be in the interest of regional peace and security in South Asia,” the Foreign Office statement said.


Hong Kong protesters sing ‘God Save the Queen’ in plea to former colonial power

Updated 44 min 17 sec ago

Hong Kong protesters sing ‘God Save the Queen’ in plea to former colonial power

  • The Chinese-ruled territory has been rocked by weeks of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests
  • Demonstrators angry about what they see as creeping interference by Beijing in their city’s affairs despite a promise of autonomy

HONG KONG: Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters singing “God Save the Queen” and waving Union Jack flags rallied outside the British Consulate on Sunday demanding that the former colonial power ensures China honors its commitments to the city’s freedoms.
The Chinese-ruled territory has been rocked by weeks of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests, with demonstrators angry about what they see as creeping interference by Beijing in their city’s affairs despite a promise of autonomy.
The Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984, lays out Hong Kong’s future after its return to China in 1997, a “one country, two systems” formula that ensures freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland.
“Sino-British Joint Declaration is VOID,” one placard read. “SOS Hong Kong,” read another.
“One country, two systems is dead,” they shouted in English under the sub-tropical sun, some carrying the colonial flag also bearing the Union Jack. “Free Hong Kong.”
With many young people looking for routes out of Hong Kong, campaigners say Britain should change the status of the British National (Overseas) passport, a category created after Britain returned Hong Kong to China. The passports allow a holder to visit Britain for six months, but do not come with an automatic right to live or work there.
“I am here to demand the UK protect our citizens’ rights in Hong Kong and speak up for Hong Kong under the Joint Declaration,” Jacky Tsang, 25, told Reuters.
The spark for the protests was planned legislation, now withdrawn, that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial, despite Hong Kong having its own much-respected independent judiciary.
The protests have since broadened into calls for universal suffrage.
China says it is committed to the “one country, two systems” arrangement, denies meddling and says the city is an internal Chinese issue. It has accused foreign powers, particularly the United States and Britain, of fomenting the unrest and told them to mind their own business.
Britain says it has a legal responsibility to ensure China abides by the 1984 declaration.
“The Joint Declaration is a legally binding treaty between the UK and China that remains as valid today as it was when it was signed and ratified over 30 years ago,” a British Foreign Office spokeswoman said in June.
“As a co-signatory, the UK government will continue to defend our position.”
But it was not immediately clear what Britain could or would want to do defend that position. It is pinning its hopes on closer trade and investment cooperation with China, which since 1997 has risen to become the world’s second-largest economy, after it leaves the European Union at the end of next month.
The Civil Human Rights Front has also called for a mass rally in Victoria Park, just to the east of the central business district, but police have denied permission because of earlier clashes after huge gatherings.
Protesters are expected to turn up early in the afternoon anyway.