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Saturday May 25, 2024

US asks Pakistan to prioritise economic reforms

Partnership with Pakistan rooted in what is in the interest of American people, people of Pakistan, says State Dept

By Web Desk
April 19, 2024
State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel addresses a presser in Washington on April 18, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — State Department/YouTube
State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel addresses a presser in Washington on April 18, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — State Department/YouTube

WASHINGTON: State Department's Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel has said the United States has encouraged Pakistan to prioritise and expand economic reforms to address the economic challenges facing the country.

In a press briefing, Patel said Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Horst stated this in a meeting with Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb.

The State Department official also said that Pakistan remains an “important partner” of the US in a number of areas.

“Particularly, it’s a country we have an immense security cooperation with, and we of course are looking to continue to collaborate and work with the Government of Pakistan,” said Patel.

To a question on whether the US sees Pakistani leadership capable of making “decisions” in Washington’s interest, Patel responded that “partnership” with Pakistan, irrespective of any government in Islamabad, is “rooted in what is of course in the interest of the American people and the people of Pakistan, and governments that are committed to working for the people of Pakistan”.

The questions regarding Pakistan came up when Patel was asked about Finance Minister Aurangzeb’s presence in the US capital.

Aurangzeb, who is currently in Washington to hold negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a new bailout package and attend World Bank meetings, has also held talks with senior US officials.

In his meeting at the World Bank headquarters with Lu and Horst, Aurangzeb explored broadening the tax base, energy sector streamlining, and privatisation.

The two sides focused on upgrading economic partnerships, with emphasis on alternate energy, agriculture, climate resilience and tech industry.

The minister identified American investment opportunities in information technology, renewables, agriculture and minerals extraction.