ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United States have agreed to advance “practical” cooperation on issues of mutual interest, bilateral ties, regional and global issues.
The understanding was reached during a meeting of the National Security Adviser, Moeed Yusuf, with his American counterpart Jake Sullivan in Geneva, on Sunday.
“The National Security Advisers (NSAs) of Pakistan and the United States of America met in Geneva Sunday. Both sides had a positive conversation on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest and agreed to advance practical cooperation on these issues,” read a brief joint statement issued on Monday. The meeting between the two NSAs is viewed as an important development in the backdrop of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Afghan peace process and bilateral relations between the two countries; especially Pakistan’s working relationship with the new US administration. Though, it was not clear as to why the two NSAs opted for Geneva for the meeting, yet diplomatic sources maintained that the talks also covered Pakistan’s quest for establishing a “strong” bilateral relations with the US beyond its cooperation in Afghanistan. The meeting held days after Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Affairs David F Helvey told the US Senate Armed Services Committee that Pakistan has allowed the US military to use its airspace and given ground access so that it can support its presence in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan has played an important role in Afghanistan. They supported the Afghan peace process. Pakistan also has allowed us to have over-flight and access to be able to support our military presence in Afghanistan,” Helvey had told the US Senate Armed Services Committee last week.
Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri was not available for comments despite repeated requests to comment on the developments.
However, responding to media queries on Monday, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri rejected the impression of availability of any US military or air base in Pakistan or any such proposal envisaged.
“There was no US military or air base in Pakistan; nor was any such proposal envisaged. Any speculation on this account was baseless and irresponsible and should be avoided,” the spokesperson said.
He added that Pakistan and the US have a framework of cooperation in terms of Air Lines of Communication (ALOC) and Ground Lines of Communication (GLOC) in place since 2001. “No new agreement has been made in this regard,” he added.