Monday Jul 22, 2019
WASHINGTON: US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Monday called on Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Pakistan House here in the American capital city.
Graham, also the head of the US Senate Judiciary Committee and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to a press statement, "has been the most vocal and active supporter of refreshing US-Pakistan bilateral ties in the interest of regional peace and security".
In the Graham-Khan meeting, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood, and Pakistani Ambassador to the US Dr Asad Majeed Khan were present.
According to the statement, the PM and the US senator "discussed bilateral relations and the regional situation. The Prime Minister appreciated Senator Graham's efforts and support for strengthening Pakistan-U.S relations.
"Prime Minister Khan apprised the Senator of his Government's development and economic priorities. He said Pakistan desired a broad based relationship with the United States that safeguarded the two countries' interests and promoted win-win cooperation in areas ranging from the economy to trade and investment to energy and education," it added.
Khan, according to the statement, said: "Pakistan had paid a high price because of instability in Afghanistan.
"Pakistan desired peace in Afghanistan and was fully committed to working with the United States in achieving a political settlement in Afghanistan."
Graham, on the other hand, "agreed with the Prime Minister that sustained and high-level engagement between Pakistan and the United States were to the two countries' mutual advantage. He appreciated Pakistan's support for the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
"The Senator said the marked improvement in Pakistan's security environment was a result of its successful counterterrorism operations and efforts to secure the Pakistan-Afghanistan border," the statement noted.
In successive tweets later, Graham said: "In my opinion he and his government represent the best opportunity in decades to have a beneficial strategic relationship the US. This will help us secure Afghanistan and the region long-term.
"Tremendous business opportunities exist between Pakistan and the US through a free trade agreement tied to our mutual security interests. It’s also our best chance in decades to reset the relationship between the US and Pakistan," he added.
The US senator further wished Khan well for his forthcoming meeting with Trump.
"Hoping for a great meeting between President @realDonaldTrump and PM Khan today," he said.
Separately, Khan is all set to meet US President Donald Trump at the White House today.
The PM's maiden visit to the US can potentially improve the ties between the two strategic allies — Washington and Islamabad — as per the Trump administration, which further stated that Khan's visit would create a stable partnership between the two countries and strengthen ties.
According to the White House, the premier's visit would focus on the strengthening of US-Pakistan cooperation to bring peace, stability, and economic prosperity to a region that has seen far too much conflict.
The two leaders would discuss several issues during their meeting, including "counterterrorism, defence, energy, and trade, with the goal of creating the conditions for a peaceful South Asia and an enduring partnership between our two countries.
COVER PHOTO: Senator Lindsey Graham (L) at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, December 9, 2015, and Prime Minister Imran Khan (R) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 2, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts and Thomas Peter/Files