ISLAMABAD -  Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and US Ambassador David Hale on Friday showed optimism that the two countries will defeat the menace of terrorism together.

The PM adviser and the US ambassador discussed the prospective engagements in the coming months as President Donald Trump’s administration settles down in Washington, with the two expressing confidence that the momentum built over the past years would be taken to higher levels, said a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It said Fatemi and Hale “undertook an early year review of the state of Pak-US bilateral relations.”

“They noted that the strategic dialogue mechanism provided the requisite framework for constructive and mutually beneficial cooperation.  This framework comprises six working groups: law enforcement and counter-terrorism; economy and finance; education, science and technology energy; security, strategic stability and non-proliferation and defence consultative group,” the statement said.

Given the state of flux in the global geo-political environment and growing turmoil in parts of the world, Fatemi also stressed the need to pursue policies that promote harmony, inclusiveness and cooperation, it added.

“In the present scenario approaches that divide the world on religious, ethnic and racial lines should be eschewed,” said the ministry statement.

In the recent past, Pak-US ties have been troubled as the two countries developed differences over Pakistan’s role in the war on terrorism. Washington has been sceptical about Pakistan’s role and has been urging Islamabad to ‘do more’. The US is also influenced by Indian and Afghanistan allegations against Pakistan of allegedly protecting some militant groups. Pakistan denies this hypothesis citing its sacrifices in the ongoing war to eliminate terrorism.

New US President Donald Trump had spoken to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the telephone soon after winning the November 2016 polls and pledged to enhance bilateral cooperation.

During the telephone call, initiated by Sharif to congratulate Trump, the US President, who took oath on January 20, reportedly told the premier that Pakistan was a “fantastic” country full of “fantastic” people that he “would love” to visit.

Trump, largely believed to be anti-Pakistan and pro-India, described Sharif as “terrific” and Pakistanis as “one of the most intelligent people.”

“I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems,” he was quoted as saying by the official media.

But at the inauguration address, Trump said: “For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidised the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; we’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.”

“Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families,” he added.

And after taking the charge, Trump banned visas for the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. There were fears he could act against Pakistan too but there has been no negative development so far.

In his meeting with Hale, Fatemi underscored the need to further deepen engagements between Pakistan and US, both in the economic and security realms.

He expressed confidence that by continuing to work together, the two countries will be able to strengthen cooperation in fighting terrorism, in promoting peace and security in the region and in harnessing the potential of regional connectivity.