Reiterating Washington’s repeated denials of any role in the no-confidence vote that led to Imran Khan’s ousting as prime minister, the new US ambassador to Pakistan, Donald Blome, stressed on Monday that there is no was no confusion on the matter.
“I think the best thing we can do in the future is to continue to engage with all levels of Pakistani society, as we have done for 75 years!” he said daily Dawn in an interview. Emphasizing that this engagement would not be limited to government-to-government contacts, he said it would also extend to political leaders, business, civil society and youth. During these talks, he said he would try to “listen and understand” the prevailing scenario and relay his findings to Washington while presenting “American views and positions as clearly and transparently as possible.” as possible”.
After a lengthy confirmation process, Blome took charge of the US mission in Pakistan late last month during a spike in anti-American sentiment, mainly prompted by Khan and his repeated claims that Washington had “funded” his eviction in collaboration with the then opposition. .
The ambassador told the local daily that the United States had scheduled several bilateral engagement follow-up meetings between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in New York last month. “I will do some of that here, and I expect we will see a variety of American visitors to Pakistan in the coming months to take advantage of that,” he said.
Blome said the two countries will also launch the U.S.-Pakistan Health Dialogue in Washington soon to deepen their cooperation on health issues, adding that their cooperation during the COVID-19 pandemic had been a good example of cooperation in matter of health.
The envoy said he was also committed to promoting bilateral trade and investment, noting that health, climate and education were areas where cooperation could be expanded. However, by Dawn, he made it clear that counter-terrorism cooperation would remain a defining feature of Pak-US relations in the near term. The United States sought “a strong partnership with Pakistan in the fight against terrorism”, he said, adding that he expected “sustained” and indiscriminate action by Islamabad against all groups. militants and terrorists.
“The United States is determined to prevent the re-emergence of terrorist threats, in Afghanistan or elsewhere. The fight against terrorism is a global effort. We will continue to engage partners, allies and key states around the world on how best to fight terrorism,” he said.
Referring to Afghanistan, Blome said the United States would work with Pakistan to “pressurize the Taliban to prevent terrorist groups from using Afghanistan as a base for external operations and to meet the expectations of the international community, including by urging the Taliban to honor their commitments against terrorism, to form an inclusive government and to protect the rights of women and girls.