WASHINGTON, May 11 (Alliance News): A United States State Department spokesman Tuesday again rejected former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan’s allegations about US involvement in his ouster from power, saying Washington will not permit any “disinformation, lies” to interfere with the bilateral relationship with Pakistan it values.
“We are not going to let propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation, lies get in the way of any bilateral relationship we have including with the bilateral relationship we have with Pakistan one we value,” the department spokesman, Ned Price, said, when a Pakistani television channel’s correspondent asked whether Imran Khan’s anti-American campaign was having an impact on US-Pakistan ties.
The State Department has repeatedly refuted the former premier’s allegations, saying the US does not support one political party over another in Pakistan, but instead supports the principles of rule of law.
Asked whether US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will have a one-on-one meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on the sideline of the May 18 meeting in New York on the eve of a UN Security Council debate on “Conflict and Food Security”, Price said, “I don’t have any bilateral meetings to preview during the next week’s food security gathering.”
But he said that Secretary Blinken did have an opportunity to speak with his new Pakistani counterpart last week, saying they reflected on the 75th anniversary of US- Pakistani relations, and to talk about how to strengthen that cooperation, going forward.
“It is a broad based bilateral relationship,” Price said.
Secretary Blinken, he said, underscored “the resolute US- Pakistan commitment to Afghan stability and to combating terrorism as well.”
Price added, “They also discussed ongoing engagement when it comes to our economic ties, trade, investment, climate, energy, health and education. So it was a wide ranging conversation as these introductory conversations often times are and I expect before long, they will have an opportunity to follow up on that.
To another question about the possibility of continuation and expansion of educational exchange relationship between the two countries, he said, “I absolutely do.”
“Our educational exchange programme, whether it’s with Pakistan, whether it is with any other country, it’s a core element of our people to people ties,” the spokesman said.
“We’ve been fortunate to have Pakistanis studying here in this country. We have American students who have had the opportunity to study in Pakistan. Those types of exchanges are always helpful, always valuable, as we seek to understand our partners and as Americans seek to better understand the world and as we have other countries have better understand America,” Price added.