LAHORE - US Consul General in Lahore Ms Nina Maria Fite has expressed the wish that she wants fostering relations between the two strategic partners through close people-to-people contacts.

Talking to APP on Sunday, she said “With the melting of snows on the advent of spring season in Pakistan, the frost in Pak-US relations will thaw.”

The US diplomat said the US was waiting for the strategic paper from the Pakistan on the bilateral relations after duly approved by its Parliament. The US is committed to stronger relations with Pakistan since both the countries have various common causes to cooperate, she added.

She expressed the US government’s resolve to provide maximum support to Pakistan in the fields of economics, education and culture. The US is happy to be here in close partnership with the people of Pakistan, she added.

Ms Nina Fite took pride in the fact that she watched very closely making of the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement during her posting as Deputy Economic Consular in Kabul, stressing that greater trade ties with its neighbouring countries in the region ensured economic boom.

She admitted her enchantment with the charm, beauty, timelessness and rich cultural heritage of Lahore, saying that she was lucky to be here.

Replying to a query, she said being a graduate in architecture, she admired fascinating and wonderful architecture of the Moghul period of the Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque, Wazir Khan Mosque as well as the contemporary architecture of the Alhamra.

Talking about various initiatives, Ms Nina said the US Consulate Lahore had introduced special initiatives for promotion of cultural activities as well as preservation of historic sites in Lahore as well as Punjab under the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.

With a keen passion for gardening, Ms Fite said she was awed by the magnificence and grace of Shalamar Gardens, adding she had been to the Chrysanthemum exhibition in Jilani Park and looked forward to the Rose Exhibition to be held in April next.

Referring to her preference for the fish food in Punjab to the spicy Punjabi dishes, she said she had special liking for the ‘carrot-halwa’ (Gajar ka Halwa).

“I’m touched by the hospitality of the Lahorites. The people are large-hearted and have made her feel great wherever she went in Pakistan, especially Punjab,” she said while eulogising the hospitality of the people in Punjab.

About the oriental dresses, Nina said she preferred the dresses which respected Pakistani cultural values.

To a query, she said the US supported women empowerment initiatives, adding the USAID had designed special programmes for women entrepreneurs as well as managers.

Regarding her presence at the women cricket event in the provincial metropolis, the diplomat was nostalgic of her first foreign posting in Jamaica, adding she developed a liking for cricket during this period as she happened to watch the West Indies-Australia cricket series - the days when West Indies ruled the cricketing world. She lauded the performance of Pakistan cricket team against the ICC top-ranked cricketing nation - England.

About the prospects of Afghan cricket, she expressed the hope that Afghan cricketers will make their mark in the sport, adding the Afghan cricketers had evolved in the Afghan refugee camps in the suburbs of Peshawar during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The US diplomat said the recent events had not affected the Pak-US educational and cultural ties at all, stressing that besides other educational and economic programmes, Pakistan was the largest shareholder in the US Fulbright scholarships offered to students every year.

The US diplomat expressed the hope that her sojourn in the provincial metropolis will usher in an era of closer Pak-US relations, bringing out the humane aspect in the ties.