Nawaz‚ Kerry agree to strengthen bilateral ties

WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a key meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington during his first visit to United State since assuming the office, media reported.

Earlier‚ on his arrival at the Andrew Airbase‚ the Pakistani prime minister was offered a red-carpet welcome. He was greeted by US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson and other senior officials.

The two sides discussed bilateral relations and the regional security situation in three-hour-long meeting held in ‘cordial atmosphere’, officials said.

The US Secretary of State welcomed the PM and underlined the vitality of Pakistan-US relations.

In his remarks, Kerry said “We’re very anxious to have a series of high-level, important discussions over the course of the next few days – the Vice President, the President, tonight’s dinner. We have a lot to talk about and the relationship with Pakistan. On its own, a democracy that is working hard to get its economy moving and deal with insurgency and also important to the regional stability. So, we’re very happy to have you here, Mr. Prime Minister.”

The PM said he highlighted the issue of civilian casualties in US missile strikes and will stress an end to the strikes in tribal areas in his meeting with President Barack Obama.

The two high-ups also finalized Obama-Nawaz meeting’s agenda as PM Nawaz is scheduled to interact with senior US administration officials, Congressional leaders and Pakistani-American community.