WASHINGTON - Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janju concluded her official visit to the United States during which she met senior government and White House officials and exchanged views on working together to serve common interests of both countries.

She met senior US officials including US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan at the State Department and Deputy National Security Adviser Dr Nadia Schadlow at the White House.

Foreign Secretary Janjua also had in-depth discussions with South Asia experts at the US Institute of Peace (USIP). She also interacted with US media.

During her meetings, Ms Janjua reiterated Pakistan’s desire to strengthen its longstanding relationship with the US. She emphasised the need for continuing constructive engagement across the entire spectrum of bilateral relationship.

She underscored that a mutually beneficial Pak-US relationship, underpinned by mutual respect, would serve the common interests of both countries.

The foreign secretary reaffirmed Pakistan's constructive approach to work together with the United States for regional peace and stability.

Ms Janjua expressed the hope that enhanced economic engagement and realising economic potential in the relationship can open new vistas of long-term cooperation, strengthening existing bonds of friendship between peoples of the two countries.

Ms Janjua said Islamabad and Washington were engaged at high-level to promote mutual understanding and discuss ways how the two countries could work together for the common goal of regional stability, including peace in Afghanistan.

Speaking separately to Washington-based Pakistani and foreign media, the foreign secretary briefed them about her current official visit to the US which, she said, was the continuation of engagement with the US.

“The recent high level exchanges between the two countries are meant to better understand each other's perspective,” The Foreign Secretary said while adding that Pakistan and the US had been successful partners in fighting terrorism and eliminating Al-Qaeda.

She reiterated Pakistan’s strong resolve to eradicating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations from its soil.

Ms Janjua said that peace in Pakistan was linked to peace and stability in Afghanistan and Islamabad supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process to bring peace to the war-torn country.

The foreign secretary expressed concerns over the presence of anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan and said that they were using the safe havens in that country to carry out terrorist activities in Pakistan.

She said that the government was trying best to control the border through the border management to prevent illegal cross-over but there was no support from the other side of the border. She also said that blaming Pakistan for problems in Afghanistan served no purpose.

Ms Junjua said that in her meetings with US officials, she apprised them of Pakistan’s concern over the border management and the existence of safe havens in Afghanistan being used by terrorists against Pakistan. She said that the US officials had complete understanding of our concerns and have assured to help address them.

Speaking to newsmen at the US State Department briefing, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Alice Wells of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs said that US was engaged with Pakistan to address its legitimate concerns and issues that emanates from ungoverned space in Afghanistan which, she added, needed to be resolved. Ms Wells also emphasised the important role of Pakistan in the Afghan peace process.

Janjua also told the newsmen about an upcoming conference of Islamic scholars being held in Indonesia which will also be attended by over a dozen Pakistan ulema. The conference is expected to issue a fatwa against the use of a country’s soil for carrying out attack in other countries.

Replying to a question about the prevailing tension between Pakistan and India and cross-LoC firing, the foreign secretary stated that India was trying to create tension along the LoC to divert world attention from internal strife.