Monday Sep 26, 2022
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has termed the meeting of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and United States President Joe Biden as "icebreaking."
PM Shehbaz Sharif met Biden and his wife at the reception to host the world leaders participating in the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). This was the first in-person meeting of the two leaders.
"Pakistan wants to strengthen its relations with US," Bilawal said while speaking about the bilateral relations between the two countries and flood situation back at home. The remark came on the occasion of the foreign minister's arrival in Washington for a four day visit on the sidelines of the recently concluded UNGA session.
He thanked the US president for inviting Pakistan alongside the other countries at the reception.
Sharing his views about the flood situation in Pakistan, Bilawal said that the purpose of his trip to America was to tell the world about the flood ravages that occurred as a consequence of climate change. He said that he was there to ask for help for the flood victims not as aid but as "justice."
"Those at fault for the flood ravages [in Pakistan] are the rich nations, not Pakistanis," he said.
The world contributed to this catastrophe therefore the world should help Pakistan in a collective effort, he added.
The foreign minister, however, said that they have received a good response as US special representative for the country expressed regret and grief over the flood devastation. He said that not only the Pakistani leaders attending the UNGA session, but also the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has talked about victims of the tragedy Pakistan saw at different forums.
He went on to say that "Pakistan can pay the debts but it would be better if we spend this money on the [rehabilitation] of flood affectees".
"We have proposed that we'll pay the debts when we become able to do that but that is an initial proposal," he said.
Bilawal further stated that Pakistan authorities have spoken to "big countries" for help in taking loans on easy terms.
Meanwhile, the minister met the Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the US Department of State Dilawar Syed and discussed the flood situation and promotion of Pakistan-US trade relations.
Taking to Twitter, Syed said that he expressed solidarity on US' behalf, with the millions of Pakistanis impacted by devastating floods. He said that the US is leading the international effort to support Pakistan.
During the visit, the foreign minister will meet with members of Congress, senators, leading American think tanks and American media organisations.