Kerry meets Nawaz Sharif, voices support for Pakistan

Islamabad (IANS): US Secretary of State John Kerry assured Pakistan of support in the fight against terrorism and other challenges, during his meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Monday.

“The United States would continue to support Pakistan in effectively combating terrorism and also addressing various other challenges,” Kerry told Sharif, according to a Xinhua report.

Kerry arrived in Islamabad Monday evening on a two-day visit following his trip to India.

Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs said that Kerry called on Sharif and held the first round of the strategic dialogue with Pakistan.

Kerry offered condolences, on behalf of the US government and its people, on the death of 150 people, including 140 children, in a terrorist attack on an army-run school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar last month,a statement from prime minister’s office in the Pakistan said.

“Terrorists are the common enemy of the two countries,” the statement quoted the US secretary of state as saying.

Sharif, on his part, said that the US was a vital component of Pakistan’ s foreign policy and appreciated US President Barack Obama’s message of friendship and cooperation in the aftermath of the Peshawar attack Dec 16.

“The prime minister highlighted Pakistan’s focus on greater market access for Pakistani products and US investment in Pakistan for creating job opportunities,” the statement said.

Further in-depth discussions, covering the entire spectrum of relations between the two countries and other issues of mutual interest, will continue Tuesday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said.

The strategic dialogue between the two sides focuses mainly on energy, security, strategic stability, non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, economy, law enforcement and defence-related issues.