Pakistan tells US it wants ties beyond Afghan cooperation

ISLAMABAD: National security advisers (NSA) of Pakistan and the United States, Moeed Yusuf and Jake Sullivan, met for the first time in Geneva on Sunday with both Islamabad and Washington committing to continue the conversation, to advance cooperation in Pak-US bilateral relations, in what were seen as ‘positive discussions’.

Pakistan has clearly told the US that it seeks a strategic and broad based bilateral relationship which should go beyond cooperation on Afghanistan. This is the first such high level non-military meeting in person between the two sides after the Biden administration took over.

Moeed Yusuf was notified as the NSA a few days ago after a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, and now will have the status of a federal minister. “The national security advisers of Pakistan and the United States of America met in Geneva.

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,” said a statement from the office of Pakistan’s NSA.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that senior members from the ministry also accompanied NSA Moeed Yusuf and it was not just an NSA to NSA meeting but a broader Pak-US bilateral meeting.

However neither the Foreign Office nor the NSA office gave further details about this important meeting which comes in the wake of withdrawal of US troops in Afghanistan and with Pakistan agreeing to allow US to use ground and air routes but only for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The reason for choosing a third country like Geneva for the meeting has also not been explained by any side. “Pleased to meet US NSA yesterday. Pakistan and the US delegation held positive discussions on bilateral, regional and global issue of mutual interest. Both sides agreed to continue the conversation to advance cooperation in Pak-US bilateral relations,” said Moeed Yusuf in a Tweet, after returning to Islamabad with his delegation.

The White House soon after also released a statement similar to the one from Islamabad saying, “The NSAs of US and Pakistan met in Geneva. Both sides discussed a range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest and discussed ways to advance practical cooperation. Both sides agreed to continue the conversation.”