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Trade ties to set record this year: US

ISLAMABAD: Trade ties between Pakistan and the United States are set to witness a new record this year as President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan have reaffirmed commitment for a stronger relationship, the White House said on Friday.

“The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the United States-Pakistan trade relationship, which is on track to set a new record this year, as well as investment and people-to-people ties between our countries,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said in a statement following the telephonic conversation between the two leaders that took place Thursday evening [partly reported].

The relationship between Pakistan and the US entered into a fresh phase of rejuvenation after Prime Minister Khan assumed his office last year. Later, the meeting between Mr Khan and Mr Trump in Washington this July gave a positive dimension to the otherwise roller-coaster bilateral ties as the discussion featured Trump’s mediation offer on Kashmir.

In a joint press conference at White House the same day, Prime Minister Imran Khan informed President Trump of a “good news” in the offing, which was interpreted by media as related to the release of an American and an Australian professor abducted by Taliban in Kabul, Afghanistan two and a half years ago.

After the release of two professors this week, President Trump called to thank Imran Khan in view of facilitation extended by Pakistan. He thanked the Prime Minister for Pakistan for his support for the recovery of American hostage Kevin King and Australian hostage Timothy Weeks, the PM Office statement.

The PM Office said: “President Trump hopes this positive development will contribute to furthering the peace process in Afghanistan,” adding that he also thanked the Prime Minister for Pakistan’s efforts in facilitating this positive outcome.

Prime Minister Imran Khan conveyed that the release of Western hostages in Afghanistan was a “positive development and Pakistan was happy that they were safe and free”. Prime Minister Khan reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the advancement of Afghan peace and reconciliation process for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. Both leaders agreed to continue to work together for the promotion of this shared objective.

The prime minister apprised Presi­dent Trump of the current situation in Occupied Kashmir, underscoring that over eight million people remained under siege for over 100 days.

Appreciating President Trump’s continued engagement as well as mediation offer, Prime Minister Khan stressed that the US president must continue his efforts for facilitation of a peaceful solution of the Kashmir dispute.

Recalling their conversations in Washington and New York, the two leaders agreed to deepen bilateral collaboration. The two leaders further agreed to remain in close contact, according to PM Office.

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