Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi received US Secretary of Defence General James Mattis, this afternoon at the Prime Minister House. On his maiden tour to Pakistan as Secretary of Defence, General Mattis was accompanied by senior officials from Department of Defence and the US Ambassador to Pakistan. The Prime Minister was assisted by Ministers of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Interior as well as senior officials from the respective ministries.
General Mattis stated that the purpose of his visit was to find common grounds in order to create a positive, consistent and long term relationship with Pakistan. He emphasized that in view of his long association with Pakistan, he was keenly aware of the sacrifices rendered and the lives lost in Pakistan’s fight against terrorism and extremism; and his personal respect and appreciation for the professional abilities of Pakistan’s armed forces. General Mattis also underscored the importance of continuing and deepening cooperation for the common objective of eliminating terrorism from the region. Recalling the longstanding relationship with the United States, the Prime Minister underlined the need for a broad based engagement to strengthen partnership and enhance cooperation between the two countries.
Articulating Pakistan’s perspective, Prime Minister noted that no other country benefits more from peace and stability in Afghanistan than Pakistan. He agreed with Secretary Mattis that both Pakistan and the US have common stakes in securing peace and security in Afghanistan for the long term stability of the broader region. Prime Minister also appreciated the US resolve not to allow the use of Afghan soil against Pakistan.
Sharing highlights of the recent counter terrorism operations to improve the law and order situation, Prime Minister noted that Pakistan, in its national interest, would continue to conduct intelligence based operations all over the country to consolidate the gains achieved in the last four years. The Prime Minister reiterated that there are no safe heavens in Pakistan and the entire nation was committed to its resolve on eradicating terrorism once and for all in all its forms and manifestations.