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Chollet and Masood

US confident of Pakistan’s ability to secure nuclear assets

WASHINGTON: “The United States is confident of Pakistan’s commitment and its ability to secure nuclear assets,” a State Department spokesperson has said, five days after President Joe Biden questioned the safety of Islamabad’s nuclear programme.

The statement came shortly after a meeting on Monday between Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Masood Khan, and the State Department Counselor, Derek Chollet, who serves as a senior policy advisor to the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to a press release of the Pakistani embassy.

“The U.S. has always viewed a secure and prosperous Pakistan as critical to U.S. interests,” State Department’s Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said while responding to a question at the daily news briefing.

He said that the two countries “enjoy a strong partnership” and that “the United States valued its longstanding cooperation with Pakistan.”

The spokesperson recalled the recent high-level visits on both sides, including the trip to the US by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and the visits of Conounselor Chollet and USAID Administrator Samantha Power to Pakistan.

“This is a relationship we view as important and it’s something that we are really deeply engaged on,” the spokesperson added.

President Biden’s remarks about Pakistan nuclear progrmme, made at a Democratic Party congressional campaign committee reception on Thursday, were described by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif as “factually incorrect and misleading”, and the Foreign Office summoned the US Ambassador in Pakistan, Donald Blome, for an explanation.

In his tweet after meeting with Ambassador Masood Khan, Counselor Chollet said he discussed with him US-Pakistan longstanding partnership and to “further grow our ties in so many areas including health, agriculture, education, entrepreneurship, energy & more for the benefit of our peoples & the region.”

Ambassador Masood Khan, in his tweet, thanked Counselor Chollet for his constructive role and stated that he had discussed with him ways to build further resilience in Pak-US relations and boost strategic trust between the two countries.

Masood Khan expressed confidence that through high level visits, people-to-people exchanges and effective communication bilateral relations would continue to be fortified.

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M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.