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Relations with Trump administration would be hopefully better: Sartaj Aziz

12 February, 2017

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KARACHI: Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Saturday said relations with the Trump administration would be "hopefully better".

He was delivering a lecture on 'Pakistan's foreign policy' at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA).

He said, "On every 20 years span, there had been a big change noticed in the power corridors of the leading nations. In the past, four super powers reduced to two and later to one but it is on the cards that in coming years there would be more super powers on the world scenario."

"Pakistan is one of the vital nations and relations with various countries are according to the stature of the respective countries. Pakistan intends to have good relations with the neighbouring countries; India, Afghanistan, China and Russia."

"China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a game changer in the region and it is evident that $47 billion projects now being enhanced to over $58 billion," Sartaj remarked. "There are some leading countries willing to join CPEC, including Central Asian Republics."

Resumption of dialogue is necessary to resolve the Kashmir issue, he said, adding that there is also increasing international pressure on India in this regard.

"Currently state elections being underway in India so the Indian leaders are moved towards and have no timeframe to start dialogue with Pakistan. India is interfering in Pakistan's internal affairs and the arrest of RAW operative Kulbhushan Yadav is a prime example of such acts," he said. "We have raised the issue on international forums that responded positively."

International community accepts Pakistan's sacrifices on the war on terror, he added.

Pakistan will continue its efforts for bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan. There are continuous skirmishes on the Working Boundary and Pakistan retaliates accordingly and will continue to do so, Sartaj said. The house arrest of Hafiz Saeed is part of the National Action Plan (NAP) and it has nothing to do with the foreign policy, he opined.

Regarding issuance of red warrant against MQM leader Altaf Hussain, he said the issue lies with the Interior Ministry, not the Foreign Ministry.

Pakistan has successfully curbed terrorism and extremism. Operation Zarb-e-Azb has broken the backbone of terrorists.

"Zarb-e-Azb is most difficult operation but our army successfully achieved its targets. Operations will remain to continue till all objectives were achieved, he pointed out. We have lost over 70,000 countrymen and an economic loss of over $100 billion. We have conducted huge tasks that are why international community lauded our efforts against terrorists."

Due to killings of Mullah Umar and Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, dialogue between Taliban and Afghan government remained suspended but Pakistan, China, Russia and the United States were trying hard to bring the Taliban to the table.

Pakistan is engaged with Afghanistan on border management and there is reformed going on in this regard, he said. Separately, speaking at the International Maritime conference

"Strategic Outlook in Indian Ocean Region 2030 and beyond - Evolving challenges and strategies", he said the Indian Ocean region had been growing in significance due to its strategic, economic and political dynamics, the changing power balance and relentless pursuit of national interest has prompted analysts to suggest that many global struggles would play out here in the 21st century.

Sartaj said Pakistan has already been playing an important role in maritime security of the area. He said the issues surrounding the protection and use of the ocean were trans-boundary in nature and required stronger cooperation among stakeholders.

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