Pakistan’s FM urges need to establish good relations with other countries
Islamabad, Pakistan newly appointed Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stressed the need to form friendly relations with the country's neighbors as well as other nations.
Qureshi made the remarks in his first press conference at foreign ministry on Monday hours after Pakistan's new cabinet took oath in the presidential palace.
The 21-member new cabinet took oath at a ceremony held in Islamabad in the presence of President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Referring to Pakistan's ties with the US, Qureshi said there is a trust deficit between Pakistan and the United States which should be bridged.
'We want to establish good relations with the US based on mutual trust and respect.'
'I have worked with the US in the past. I have worked with Richard Holbrooke, Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice. I know about their concerns and their priorities. I will speak to Americans in a straight forward manner, I will tell them that we too have our priorities, our nation has some aspirations. I will tell them that bilateral relations will operate on the basis of equality.'
'We know that there will be obstructions and hurdles in our way, but we are determined,' he said.
The foreign minister spoke of his intention to contact his Afghan counterpart and pay a visit to Kabul.
'I want to bring a solid message to the people of Afghanistan. The two countries share a future and geography, and we have to work together and begin our long journey.'
Qureshi also directly addressed Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, saying, 'We are neighbors. We have long-standing issues, both of us know these problems. But we have no other option but to engage in dialogue. We cannot afford adventurism.'
'These issues are complicated and we may face hurdles in resolving them, but we must engage' he added. 'There is a need for continued, uninterrupted dialogue. This is the only way forward, in my opinion.'
'India and Pakistan have to move forward keeping realities before them,' he asserted, adding that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written a letter to PM Imran Khan, in which he has indicated the beginning of talks between the two countries.
The foreign minister said his party 'supports the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)'. 'CPEC is a long-term project, it is a game changer, and our party supports CPEC.'
'Appointments will be made on the basis of performance. No one should take them for granted. I don't like reshuffling without purpose,' he explained, when questioned about appointments and reshuffles in the ministry.
Earlier the newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan had also pledged to build stronger ties with all neighboring states including Iran.
In his inaugural address to the nation, Prime Minister Khan said, 'Our priority is to talk to our neighbors and restore peace in the region.'
Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA