US Senator, British Defence Secretary meet Pakistan FM

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Islamabad, May 27 (UNI) Pakistan has underscored the need of a broad-based and long-term relationship with the United States, saying it is important for regional as well as global peace and security.

''This relationship should be based on common values and close cooperation in diverse areas, including trade, energy and social sector development,'' Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said yesterday while talking to US Senator Russ Feingold here.

''The discussions focused on Pakistan-US relations, counter-terrorism, and regional issues of common interest,'' foreign office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq said here today.

Welcoming the visits of US Congressional delegations to Pakistan, Mr Qureshi called for deeper interaction between Parliaments and other democratic institutions of the two countries. Mr Qureshi reiterated Pakistan's firm commitment to fight extremism and terrorism in its own interest.

He also apprised the visiting Senator of Pakistan's sustained efforts for the promotion of peace and stability in the region and beyond as an indispensable part of the endeavors to advance Pakistan 's economic development goals.

Senator Feingold underlined the importance of close US-Pakistan relations and expressed support for the objective of building a broader, consistent and long-term relationship going beyond counter-terrorism.

Meanwhile, visiting British Defence Secretary Des Browne also met the Foreign Minister and held discussions on bilateral relations, and regional and international issues of common interest.

This was the third high-level visit from the United Kingdom, after two earlier visits of the Home Secretary and the Foreign Secretary, aimed at establishing contact with the new democratic government, spokesman Sadiq added.

The Foreign Minister conveyed appreciation of the Pakistan government for the role played by the United Kingdom towards restoration of Pakistan's membership to the Councils of Commonwealth.

He also appreciated United Kingdom's support for Pakistan's economic development and security. Mr Qureshi briefed Mr Browne on the ongoing political process and Pakistan's comprehensive and multi-pronged approach towards addressing the issues of extremism and terrorism.

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