Bilawal stresses engagement with US for ties reset

FM says Pakistan and the United States agree far more than they disagree

APP May 27, 2022
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari gestures during an interview with Reuters on May 25, 2022.


Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has called for a reset of the strained Pakistan-US relations through engagement, saying that he believes the two countries agree on far more than they disagree on.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Foreign Minister Bilawal cited his family’s epic battles with other powerful Pakistani institutions stressing that change should be pursued slowly and through negotiation, not confrontation.

“The way in which this relationship progressed in recent years doesn’t serve the interests of the people of Pakistan, but it also doesn’t serve the interests of the people of America,” he said. “And I still believe that Pakistan and the United States agree on far more than we disagree on,” he added.

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”Even though I’m young and I’m supposed to be a lot more idealistic and revolutionary, because of our [family’s] experience, I actually believe in evolution over revolution,” Post correspondent Josh Rogin, quoted him in his write-up about the interview that appeared in the newspaper on Friday.

The foreign minister came to New York on May 17 to attend the high-level meetings at the United Nations on food security. On the sidelines of the meeting, he met a number of world leaders, including the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Responding to a question, Foreign Minister Bilawal noted that in his meeting with Secretary Blinken in New York, they discussed moving toward more cooperation on trade, climate change, tech investment, and food security.

In the interview, Bilawal, while emphasising that there was a lot more common ground now and less fog of war, stressed the need for diversifying the Pakistan-US relationship beyond military issues, saying that it might also help. Letting the Pakistan-US alliance further deteriorate makes little sense,” he added.

The foreign minister believed that there were reasons to think that progress was possible. “The main issue of contention, the war in Afghanistan, could now be an area of cooperation after [US President Joe] Biden’s troops withdrawal,” the foreign minister said.

“Now, the two countries’ interests… are largely aligned around encouraging the Taliban to behave better and bringing stability to the Afghan people. Now we can move beyond that disagreement without having to go back and litigate the past,” the foreign minister said.

On May 18, against the backdrop of strained ties between Pakistan and the US, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with FM Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

Blinken assured the FM that the administration of President Joe Biden was looking forward to working with the new government in Pakistan and discussed “expanding partnership” between the two countries.

This was the first high-level face-to-face contact between Pakistan and the US since the change of government in Islamabad.


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