Pakistan`s new envoy to US says will bolster ties

Pakistan`s newly-appointed ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani has taken charge of the post after reaching Washington.

IANS| Last Updated: Dec 31, 2013, 19:38 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan`s new envoy to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani has assumed charge in Washington, saying he would build on recent positive momentum to bolster bilateral relations.

Jilani, a former foreign secretary, is the first career diplomat to head the mission in the US since Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, who left in 2004 to represent the UN in Iraq.

He said he was looking forward to building on "recent positive momentum" to strengthen the wide-ranging relationship between the two countries.
He further said he would strive to build on the goodwill generated in the US after Prime Minister Nawaz Shari`s visit to Washington. "So I will have the advantage to build on that goodwill and carry forward the relationship between the two countries," he added.

Jilani underlined positivity recently witnessed in ties after the meeting of working groups under the Pakistan-US Strategic Partnership. He also noted that the two sides should hold discussions to resolve issues between them.

The envoy is expected to play a key role in steering bilateral ties ahead of the drawdown of foreign troops from war-ravaged Afghanistan. He will emphasis the need to expand trade and economic cooperation.

Jilani reached Washington almost eight months after the previous envoy, Sherry Rehman, quit and returned home when her Pakistan People`s Party lost the general election in May.

US-Pakistan ties have been under strain since May 2011, when Navy SEALs swooped down on a compound in Abbottabad and killed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

The killing of two Pakistani men by CIA contractor Raymond Davis and a US air raid that killed 28 Pakistani soldiers further strained relations.
The relationship will enter a critical phase in 2014 when the US withdraws most of its combat troops from Afghanistan.

Jilani has served as a diplomat at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington during 1995-99. He also served as Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi and ambassador to the European Union and Australia.
The killing of two Pakistani men by Central Intelligence Agency contractor Raymond Davis and a US air raid that killed 28 Pakistani soldiers further strained relations.