Hours after Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari arrived in New York for a series of meetings with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a State Department spokesperson assured Islamabad of strong support from Washington for their efforts to rebuild the South Asian nation’s economy.
The US “will continue to work bilaterally on ways to grow investment and trade opportunities to build a prosperous and stable Pakistan”, the spokesperson told Dawn news.
The US also “welcomes the ongoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) deliberations with Pakistan”, the spokesperson added.
Also, IMF sources in Washington confirmed that Pakistan and the Fund would start their review talks in Doha on Wednesday to strike a staff-level agreement for the release of a $1 billion tranche under an Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
The week-long review will be an opportunity for Pakistan to convince the IMF to revive a stalled $6 billion package for stabilising its cash-starved economy.
A public expression of US support would boost Islamabad’s efforts to revive the programme and could smooth bullish market trends as well.
The spokesperson also confirmed media reports of a one-on-one meeting between Secretary Blinken and Bhutto-Zardari.
“We confirm Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Bhutto-Zardari will meet one-on-one and cover a number of bilateral concerns in a follow-up to their May 6 call,” the US official told Dawn news.
Earlier, the Foreign Minister told journalists in New York that he would share Pakistan’s perspective on various issues with the international community in his UN engagements.