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Congressional delegation calls on President Asif Ali Zardari

Islamabad: A delegation of US Congressmen led by Michael McCaul ® called on President Asif Ali Zardari at Bilawal House Karachi and discussed Pak-US bilateral relations, strategic dialogue, reconstruction opportunity Zones (ROZs), war against terror, situation in Afghanistan and overall regional situation.

Other members of the delegation included Jeffrey Duncan ®, Henry Cuellar (D), Gene Green (D), Michael Fitzpatrick ® and Nick Palarino, Charles Snyder and Anne Bennet.

Interior Minister Rehman, Secretary to President Malik Asif and Additional Secretary Foreign Affairs Dr Asad M Khan assisted the President during the meeting.

Discussing Pak-US bilateral relations and the recent developments, the President called for mutual understanding of each other point of view and need for greater interaction at all levels to avoid any misunderstanding and negative impressions that would potentially endanger close working relationship at this critical hour.

President Zardari emphasized upon the need for both sides to exercise restraint and avoid uncalled for public criticism as it undermines efforts to stabilize the equation and working closely for shared goals.

He said that the democratic dispensation of Pakistan believes in trade rather than aid as a solution to the weak and stressed economy.

The President also called for expediting ROZs legislation terming it crucial for creating economic opportunities particularly for the people of militancy hit areas.

Talking about war against militancy and its impacts on Pak economy, the President said that combined effect of war against militancy and the recent natural calamities have adversely impacted Pak economy thus restricting Government efforts to provide economic relief to the people. He said that under prevailing situation international assistance in various projects was critical.

Discussing regional situation, the President reiterated Pakistan’s principled stance of its abiding interest in the stability of Afghanistan. He said that Pakistan has always called for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned solution. Pakistan would continue to support all efforts directed towards permanent peace, stability and development of Afghanistan, he vowed.

He also mentioned recently held 6th Trilateral Summit and Pakistan’s role to assist in efforts for restoration of stability and peace in Afghanistan.

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