WASHINGTON, (PNA/APP) — While emphasizing the importance of wide-ranging cooperative ties between the United States and Pakistan, the White House has said a formal meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected in near future.
“We do expect that we’d like to have a formal meeting with the Prime Minister of Pakistan in the near future, so it’s a matter of making sure that we can find an appropriate time for both leaders to come together,” Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, said.
Rhodes’ comments came as news reports quoted senior Pakistani officials including as saying that a schedule of the first formal meeting between the U.S. and Pakistani leaders since the inception of the new government in Islamabad would be announced shortly.
In a conference call with reporters, Rhodes remarked while there’s not a formal bilateral meeting between the two leaders scheduled at the United Nations next week, “but it’s certainly possible that they’ll be able to see each other.”
The White House official noted that President Obama and Prime Minister Sharif have had a good set of discussions on the phone. He said the Sharif government provides an opportunity for bilateral relations to move on a positive trajectory.
“I think our impression is that the Sharif government wants to find a basis to rebuild a stronger U.S. Pakistan relationship that—they’re going to be very clear about what their interests are and when they have differences on some issues, but that we both still believe that our nations benefit when we can find ways to work together on issues related to counterterrorism, on issues related to economic growth and development inside of Pakistan, but also on regional stability.”
Rhodes also underlined the key significance of Islamabad’s support towards stability in neighboring Afghanistan and the region, at a time when Washington is looking to wind up its war by the end of 2014.