Rice discusses bilateral, regional issues with Pak PM

Rice discusses bilateral, regional issues with Pak PM

US National Security Advisor Susan Rice today discussed with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif bilateral issues and the regional situation, amid reports that she is here on "an emergency visit" due to an escalation in Indo-Pak tension along the LoC.

Rice arrived in Pakistan on a day-long visit to exchange views on various matters and prepare agenda for Sharif's visit to the US in October.

A statement by Sharif's office said the meeting "focused on matters of bilateral interest and the future of Pakistan-US relations."

"The situation in the region also came under discussion," it said without giving detail.
Her visit coincides with an escalation in tension between Pakistan and India along the Line of Control (LoC). There have been 55 ceasefire violations by Pakistan in August, and more than 245 during the year so far.

Also, Pakistan called off the proposed NSA-level talks between the two countries at the last minute over India's reluctance to involve Kashmiri separatists.

The White House has, however, asserted that Rice's visit was planned in advance and this was not "emergency visit" due the increasing tension.

During the meeting today, Sharif said the US is an important partner of Pakistan in all areas especially economy, defence and counter-terrorism.

He said Pakistan sees its ties with the US as a partnership which is in the interest of the two countries, the region and the world.

Sharif said he was looking forward to his US visit in October as an opportunity to strengthen the bilateral ties. 

Rice underscored the importance of strong Pakistan-US ties and noted the positive direction of the ongoing cooperation between the two countries especially in the areas of defence, economy and energy sectors.

She expressed deep appreciation for the sacrifices made by Pakistan in its efforts to root out terrorism and extremism and the success achieved so far.

She also expressed appreciation for the Sharif's vision of a peaceful neighbourhood.
Rice was accompanied by the senior director for South Asian Affairs at the US National Security Council Peter Lavoy and Ambassador Richard Olson.

Rice is also expected to meet army chief General Raheel Sharif. 

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