Thursday May 30, 2024

Pakistan consulted US before inking crude oil deal with Russia: Masood Khan

“It is important that US restores foreign military financing and foreign military sales for Pakistan," Pakistan ambassador says

By Wajid Ali Syed
April 28, 2023
Pakistans Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan addresses a conference on “The Future of Pakistan-US relations” at renowned US think-tank Wilson Centre on April 27, 2023. — Photo by author
Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan addresses a conference on “The Future of Pakistan-US relations” at renowned US think-tank Wilson Centre on April 27, 2023. — Photo by author

Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan said that Islamabad "consulted" Washington before signing the crude oil deal with Russia, clarifying that there is no misunderstanding between the two countries on buying oil from Moscow.

Last week, Pakistan placed its first order for Russian crude oil with one cargo to dock at Karachi port in May. The development sparked concerns that the authorities may have irked the US; however, a day earlier US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel also clarified that Washington has no objection to Pakistan’s decision to import oil from Russia.

Khan, while addressing a conference on “The Future of Pakistan-US relations” at the renowned US think-tank Wilson Centre, said that Pakistan seeks to forge strong ties with the US and make them stronger.

“We do not believe our relations with China should affect them in any way. We earnestly hope that the US, the shining city upon a hill, and China, an emerging power, using their statesmanship, will opt for cooperation and competition rather than confrontation that can plunge the globe into strife or worse,” he said.

Khan said: “Pakistan offers to build bridges in good faith and facilitate communication between the two powers, if they so desire, as it did back in the 1970s.”

The ambassador cautioned about the serious perils of the policy of imbalance in South Asia, urging the US to “revive its role on strategic stability in South Asia”.

“It is important that the US restores — for Pakistan — foreign military financing and foreign military sales, suspended by the previous administration,” he urged.

Terming Pak-US ties as “a relationship of the future generations”, Ambassador Khan said that after a brief period of uncertainty, the two states were successfully recalibrating and rejuvenating their relations in the wake of changing circumstances.

“The results in a short span of time are impressive,” he said.

Referring to frequent high-level contacts between Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Pak-US dialogues on health, energy, climate change, counter-narcotics, counterterrorism and defence and the recently held Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Ministerial Council meeting, Khan said that these processes were producing results and defining pathways for future growth.

“They are also creating a structure for an overarching, multi-dimensional dialogue”, he continued.

He further highlighted the confluence of shared values and ideas that bind the people of Pakistan and the United States and brought them into alliances for advancing shared strategic purposes including rolling back aggression in Afghanistan and combating the scourge of terrorism.

Khan further confirmed that Bilawal would be attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Conference in Goa in early May. “The context is multilateral, not bilateral. Let’s hope that this decision goes down well to bolster diplomacy,” he continued.

He said that the US encourages India and Pakistan to engage. “But beyond that, the US could act as a catalyst to help resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute which has kept the region on the brink of war.”

US endorses Pakistan's view on terrorism

Echoing Khan’s views, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Horst said that the Pak-US relationship was “one of the most consequential for each other, for South Asia and for the world.”

Horst observed that the US was more aligned than ever with Pakistan on how to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a base for terrorism.

“We both want a region where terrorists pose no threats and borders are respected. We are looking now at how we can cooperate with Pakistan on counterterrorism, counter-narcotics, anti-human trafficking and we are working to ensure that Afghanistan is never again (becomes) a base for terrorism” she said.

Dilating upon Pakistan’s relations with the world, the US official said: “Pakistan is a sovereign country. It has made and always will make its own choices. It has a lot of partnerships. The United States respects that.”

“A strong prosperous and democratic Pakistan is essential for the interests of both our countries and both our peoples. The best way to do that is through continued cooperation,” she said.