Pakistan has ‘very, very key position’ in South Asia: Kerry

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WASHINGTON: US SecretarU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the press following his meeting with Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird at the State Department in Washingtony of State John Kerry said on Friday that recent developments in South Asia had placed Pakistan in a “very, very key” position and had further increased the need for staying engaged with that country.

“Obviously, Pakistan is very, very key now, has been for 70 years,” the secretary said. “Now with the transition in Afghanistan, with the new government in India, with certain challenges that we’re both facing in terms of counter-terrorism,” it had become even more crucial to stay engaged with Pakistan, he added.

According to a transcript released by the US State Department in Washington, Secretary Kerry made these remarks before his meeting with Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz in London.

The top US diplomat noted that the two countries also had “major economic issues” to talk about, particularly the “huge challenge” that Pakistan was facing in meeting its energy demands.

“We have a lot to discuss, and particularly at this moment … I think it’s good that we have a chance to be able to meet,” he said.

Mr Aziz said he had come to London to attend a conference on ending sexual violence in conflict regions but wanted to avail the opportunity for also discussing bilateral issues with Mr Kerry.

He noted that the United States and Pakistan held their strategic dialogue in March, and “it’s always useful to follow up to see what progress has been made, what more needs to be done”.

He said that since a lot of things were happening in the South Asia region, “this is a very good chance” for exchanging views on those developments.

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