Wednesday May 18, 2022
NEW YORK: In his maiden visit to the United States, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the UN Headquarters on Wednesday.
FM Bilawal is visiting the USA at the invitation of Blinken to attend the ministerial meeting on the "Global Food Security Call to Action" to be held at the United Nations today (Wednesday).
Blinken said that talks on regional security were also included in the meeting, noting that the United States wanted even better relations with Pakistan.
The US official said the focus of the talks was to strengthen bilateral economic, trade ties and regional security.
The US secretary of state said that he was happy to work with the Pakistani government and Foreign Minister Bilawal, adding that he would discuss an important issue — food security — with the foreign minister.
"The food security crisis has intensified since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. More than 40 million people have been affected by the food security crisis. We are working together to address the issue of food security," he said, thanking Pakistan for its participation in the "Global Food Security Call for Action".
On the other hand, Foreign Minister Bilawal expressed his determination to further strengthen the broad-based and multifaceted Pak-US bilateral relations.
The foreign minister said he was happy to be partaking in the conference and noted that Pakistan was facing challenges of security, clean energy, and, water security.
"We are facing many problems ranging from climate change to existing issues in neighbouring countries [...] Opportunities for enhancing ties between Pakistan and US are also awaited," Bilawal said.
Before this, FM Bilawal met the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The foreign minister, during the meeting, underscored the importance attached to multilateralism and the UN in Pakistan’s foreign policy. He stated that Pakistan adheres firmly to the principles of the UN Charter and has always supported solutions to global issues in accordance with those principles.
The foreign minister added that as the current Chair of the Group of 77 and China, Pakistan welcomes the support of the UNSG to the objectives pursued by the developing countries at the UN.
He particularly emphasised the need to advance the attainment of the first two Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at ending poverty and hunger.
On the situation in Ukraine, the foreign minister appreciated the secretary general’s efforts to promote a negotiated solution and shared Pakistan’s perspective.
Bilawal highlighted the grim situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) marked by grave violations of human rights and illegal demographic changes.
He underscored that Pakistan desires peace with all its neighbours, including India, which will continue to remain elusive unless the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is resolved in accordance with the UN Security resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people.
The foreign minister lauded the secretary general’s commitment to combat Islamophobia and also reaffirmed the resolve to work closely with him in this endeavour including in Pakistan’s capacity as the current chair of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers.
The foreign minister appreciated the UNSG’s role in mobilising humanitarian and economic assistance for the Afghan people. The foreign minister shared Pakistan’s concern about the spillover of instability in Afghanistan into Pakistan.
He emphasised the international community’s response must address the urgent humanitarian needs and avoid a complete collapse of the economy in Afghanistan that will have dire consequences for ordinary Afghans.