WASHINGTON: United States (US) President Barack Obama met Pakistan’s new ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman on Wednesday and formally accepted her credentials as ambassador.
In a ceremony held at the Oval Office in the White House, Rehman presented the official letter of recall for former Ambassador Husain Haqqani, and her letter of credentials to Obama. As part of the ceremony, she also presented her written remarks to Obama, who gave a written reply to the prepared remarks.
A spokesperson for the Embassy of Pakistan told The Express Tribune that in her submitted remarks, Ambassador Rehman highlighted friendly relations between both countries on the basis of mutual trust, respect and interests.
The spokesperson added that Ambassador Rehman highlighted Pakistan’s co-operation with the US and the international community in defeating extremism. Her remarks also cited Pakistan’s sacrifices and efforts regarding security along the Afghan border and the region at large.
The Embassy official further said that Rehman said that as Pakistan’s representative, she would strengthen bilateral ties and set them on “firmer, transparent and equitable footing”, and seek the support of the Pakistani-American community in advancing mutual ties.
President Obama formally accepted credentials from new ambassadors from Morocco, Iraq, UK and Azerbaijan amongst others.
Since her arrival in the US capital earlier this month, 51-year-old Rehman has already presented her credentials to the US State Department’s Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman. Following the presentation of her credentials, Rehman also met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides and Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman.
In the ceremony, 15 other ambassadors also presented their credentials to Obama. Rehman was accompanied by her husband, banker Nadeem Hussain and daughter Marvi Malik, who also met with the President.
Earlier on Wednesday, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters, regarding Pak-US relations, at the daily press briefing, “Our message to Pakistan has been very clear. The secretary spoke about this last week after she saw Ambassador Rehman. I would guess that the White House will speak about this today. We want to — we believe we both need a strong, continuing, cooperative relationship across the range of important issues, political, economic, security. We want to get back to the full range of business together, and we want to do that as soon as the Pakistani side is fully ready to have those conversations with us.”
Rehman had earlier held the position of federal information minister and resigned from her seat in the National Assembly before coming to the US, replacing Haqqani as Pakistan’s representative in the US. Haqqani had resigned in December last year in the wake of the Memogate scandal.