US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel calls on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

Islamabad: The US Secretary Defence, Chuck Hagel arrived here Monday and called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and held in-depth exchanges on the whole range of issues of mutual interest. The two leaders agreed to work together to strengthen Pakistan-US relations and advance the shared interest of a stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan and the region.

Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Defence, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani, Foreign Secretary and Lt. Gen. Asif Yasin Malik, Secretary Defence also attended the meeting.

The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of Pakistan-US strategic partnership for peace and stability in the region. They noted the substantial progress made in the bilateral relationship in recent months and acknowledged that the recent high-level exchanges including the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington, meetings of the Working Groups on Energy, Defence and Security, Non-proliferation and Disarmament, have greatly helped in building trust and strengthening the relationship.

The two leaders also reviewed the current state of bilateral defence and security cooperation and explored ways of further expanding cooperation in this important area of the relationship. In this regard, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of establishing a long-term and broad-based defence cooperation with the U.S. on the basis of mutual interest.

The Prime Minister also conveyed Pakistan’s deep concern over continuing US drone strikes, stressing that drone strikes were counter-productive to our efforts to combat terrorism and extremism on an enduring basis.

The two leaders also discussed the situation in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stressed the importance Pakistan attached to a peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan and reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for the Afghan peace and reconciliation process. Secretary Hagel acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts to support an inclusive reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

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