U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday on bilateral relations as the two nations work to mend fences that have been frayed since the departure of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
After their talk, the U.S. State Department reported that they also discussed the situation in Pakistan’s neighbor Afghanistan and the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on food security there and elsewhere.
It was the second time Blinken and Bhutto Zardari had spoken. May was their most recent exchange.
Khan, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament in April, had antagonized the United States throughout his tenure, welcoming the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last year and more recently accusing Washington of being behind the attempt to oust him. Washington and Pakistan’s National Security Council, a body of top civil and military leaders, dismissed the accusations.
“The Secretary welcomed the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Pakistan and reaffirmed our joint goals for enhancing U.S.-Pakistan bilateral partnerships on economic stability, climate, and health,” the State Department said in its statement on Wednesday.
Analysts have said they do not expect the United States to seek a significant broadening of ties with Pakistan’s new government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, but to remain mostly focused on security cooperation, especially on counter-terrorism and Afghanistan.