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September 8, 2018

Pakistan a friend, key partner: US

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September 8, 2018

WASHINGTON: The US Defense Department says despite differences in a few areas, relations with Pakistan continue to promote quality interactions, particularly in the realm of defense and security.

Speaking at an event organised by the Pakistani Embassy here to mark the Defence and Martyrs Day, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver said, "We know about the sacrifices that Pakistan made in the long war against terror and we don't take those sacrifices lightly."

He said the US valued its relationship and partnership with Pakistan. "We are important partners in a number of key areas, continuing our efforts to degrade al Qaeda, the efforts to defeat ISIS, Khurasan, and efforts to the United Nations in peacekeeping. These are all areas where we cooperate and are achieving results and success," he said.

Schriver added that the two countries might have differences in some areas but every interaction between them brought hope in promoting shared interests. Commenting on the recent trip taken by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford with the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pakistan, he said both leaders emerged hopeful because every conversation they had, and every interaction gave them a sense of hope that "we are on a better path and we can improve this relationship."

He also reiterated Pakistan’s prompt and critical support in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 tragedy. He underscored that Pakistan was a friend, a supporter and a key partner and will continue to be a partner. Felicitating the Pakistani nation on the occasion, he paid rich tribute to all those who offered the ultimate sacrifice in defending the country.

Pakistan's ambassador Ali Jehangir Siddiqui welcomed distinguished guests and underscored the role of Pakistan Army being among the largest contributor to the United Nations peace keeping missions in various conflict-ridden areas around the globe.

He acknowledged that the Pakistan's Army had always been the first to respond and last to leave in natural disasters and the whole nation was proud of their armed forces. Commenting on Pak-US relations, he said a strong and robust military cooperation between Pakistan and the US had always been pivotal to strengthening bilateral relations.

Regular interactions and high level exchanges would ultimately serve the interest of both the countries, the ambassador emphasised. Defence Attaché Brig. Kamal Anwar Chaudhry said the Defence Day marked commemoration of the resolve and commitment of the Pakistani nation and the armed forces who withstood and surmounted all the external and internal challenges in defending the homeland.

Recalling the horrific terrorist attack on the Army Public School, Peshawar in 2014, he highlighted the high cost paid by the whole nation in blood and treasure while standing behind the armed forces in guarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan.

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