ISLAMABAD: The recent visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry not only allowed for the strategic dialogue between the two countries to resume, but also allowed Pakistan to discuss the stalled Iran-Pakistan pipeline.
The Foreign Office spokesperson during the weekly briefing on Friday said that Pakistan had presented a “non-paper” over the Iran-Pakistan pipeline to the US delegation.
Talking about US Secretary of State John Kerry’s two-day visit to Pakistan, the spokesperson said that Pakistan briefed him about its projects related to pipelines, particularly Iran-Pakistan pipeline.
He said the projects were being undertaken to address the acute energy requirements of Pakistan and that the standpoint of Pakistan was conveyed to US in the form of a non-paper.
“Our energy requirements warrant that we explore all possible options, including the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project,” he said.
Chaudhry said that the rationale for giving the non-paper to the US was “to convey our perspective, with particular reference to whether or not this project would attract US sanctions.”
Asked about reports that a civil nuclear deal may be on the cards, the spokesperson denied that the subject was discussed during Kerry’s visit. “This was not discussed but as I indicated to you earlier, one of the working groups deals with the strategic stability issues. That is where this subject will be discussed.”
The spokesperson though said that the visit had afforded an opportunity to discuss the regional situation with a view to exploring ways of bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“As the US prepares to draw down from Afghanistan, there is a need to intensify cooperation among all stakeholders to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan.”
The spokesperson, while responding to a question about the resumption of dialogue with the Taliban, said that Pakistan will remain engaged with concerned groups to achieve peace in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan has expressed its support for the reconciliation process in Afghanistan, which we believe is an effective way to achieve peace and stability.”
He added that Pakistan will continue to facilitate the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.”
“To this end, Pakistan side will remain engaged with the US, Afghanistan, and others concerned and contribute to bringing lasting peace in Afghanistan.”
Responding to a question on al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, who Kerry claimed was violating the sovereignty of Pakistan, Chaudhry replied that Pakistan has always been on the forefront of the fight on terror and would take swift action against terrorists, whenever they come across them.
Ties with India
Spokesperson of the ministry, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said that dates were proposed for two of the eight segments for composite dialogue.
“One of the segment relates to the Wullar Barrage while the other to the matter of Sir Creek,” he said, adding that US expressed its support for the initiative of Pakistan’s leadership to improve ties with India.
Chaudhry added that a response is yet to be received from India on whether the dates are suitable for them.
He added that Pakistan was pushing for closer ties with India, including Track II diplomacy.
“Ambassador Shahryar Ahmed Khan has been nominated by the Prime Minister to pursue this track from our side. We do hope that this track will contribute to the efforts to seek improvement in bilateral relations between Pakistan and India.”