WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz says Pakistan-US strategic dialogue has further strengthened bilateral relations.

He was talking to media along with US Secretary of State John Kerry after sixth round of ministerial level Pakistan-US strategic dialogue in Washington on Monday.

Sartaj Aziz expressed the hope that Washington will continue playing its role in achieving Pakistan’s priorities. He urged the United States to grant more access to Pakistani products to US markets.

At the start of talks Pakistan said that a contentious sale of F-16 fighter jets would strengthen the South Asian nation’s ability to mount counter-terrorist operations and promote regional stability.

The US government this month approved the sale of the aircraft, radar and electronic warfare equipment to Pakistan in a deal worth nearly $700 million.

Neighboring India, a historic rival of Pakistan, opposes the sale, which has also drawn criticism from some US lawmakers. Congress could potentially block the deal although such action is rare.

Adviser Sartaj Aziz said he appreciated the US leadership’s public assessment that Pakistan uses F-16s effectively against terrorists.

Secretary of State John Kerry last week told a House committee that Pakistan’s existing fleet of F-16s have been critical for its counter-terrorism fight on the western border with Afghanistan.

But Aziz urged the Obama administration to do more “to bring Congress fully in the picture about the positive steps taken by Pakistan to further our mutual interests and the very significant change in ground realities that has taken place in the past two-and-a-half years.”

Kerry did not mention the F-16s sale in his remarks on Monday, but he commended Pakistan’s counter-terrorism operations, including in North Waziristan, a tribal area from where militants have launched cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.

Kerry welcomed Pakistan’s commitment not to differentiate among terrorist groups. He said groups like the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba seek to undermine Pakistan’s relations with its neighbors.

Mr Aziz reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to “finish and win” the fight against terrorism. “Our strategy to eliminate the terrorist networks and defeat their extremist ideology is all-encompassing,” he said. Through military operation Zarb-e-Azb, Pakistan is determined to deny space to any terrorist groups to plan and launch violent activities from the Pakistani soil, he said. After almost year and a half since its launch, Zarb-e-Azb is probably the most successful story in the history of counter-terrorism operations, he claimed. Pakistan is taking all necessary measures to launch intelligence-based operations and choke the funding sources of terrorist organizations, he said.

So far, more than one billion rupees worth of accounts have been frozen by the State Bank of Pakistan belonging to the terrorist and extremist organisations, Aziz added.

Mr Aziz said multiple actions are underway to defeat the extremist agenda or propaganda of the terrorist organisations through a counter-narrative strategy.

Kerry said that at Monday’s talks they would also discuss Pakistan’s “obligations of being a responsible state with nuclear weapons.” He noted that the US and Russia had succeeded in reducing their nuclear stockpiles.

“We are moving in the other direction, and I think it’s important for Pakistan to really process that reality and put that front and center in its policy,” Kerry said.

He looked forward to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif being among world leaders attending a nuclear security summit to be hosted by President Barack Obama in Washington at the end of March.

Earlier welcoming Pakistani delegation to the State Department, John Kerry hailed Oscar winning Pakistani documentary film “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”.

“This film told the remarkable story of a very courageous young woman who survived an attempt at an honor killing by her father and her uncle,” Kerry told the assembled diplomats from both countries.

“And yet even more remarkable was that after the initial screening Prime Minister Sharif pledged to change laws that allow such barbaric practices and murders,” he added.

“And that is a sign of how a great work of cinema can shine light on a subject on real world challenges and it can actually promote positive change.”