WASHINGTON -  Pakistan will work closely with the administration of US President-elect Donald Trump, a top Pakistani diplomat said, while asserting that Trump’s "business background and strong interest in economic ties match the vision and policies” of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

In an interview with The Washington Times, a conservative newspaper, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi also said Pakistan plans to step up its economic and military cooperation with Russia.

Members of Trump’s national security team “know Pakistan paid a heavy price in terms of the successes of the United States” in the region, including Islamabad’s backing of the US mission to push the Soviet Union from Afghanistan in the 1980s and the post 9/11 era, he was cited as stating in the paper.

Trump will assume the office of President of the United States on January 20.

“We will work closely with the administration,” Fatemi said, adding, “We believe Trump’s business background and strong interest in economic ties match the vision and policies” of  Prime Minister Sharif.

After years of tension and inconsistency in bilateral ties, “there is an element of normalcy and predictability within the relationship” between Washington and Islamabad since  Nawaz Sharif came to power three years ago, Fatemi said.

The volatility that plagued US-Pakistani relations under previous regimes in Pakistan has subsided, he said during the interview at the Pakistani Embassy last week as part of a post-election trip to Washington and New York.

Fatemi reportedly was supposed to meet with Trump transition team aides in New York, but the newspaper said that the meetings had not been held.

To successfully deal with the serious challenges facing Pakistan and the US in South Asia, the Trump administration must ensure that the relationship “stay on an even keel and continue to progress gradually,” Fatemi said.

Although Islamabad pledges to maintain strong military and economic ties to the United States, it is also making overtures toward establishing a similar relationship with Russia, according to The Washington Time.

Fatemi rejected reports of pending major weapons sales between Russia and Pakistan but said Islamabad “is exploring all options from all countries” to arm his country’s military.

He said diplomatic outreach to Russia also is focused on burgeoning economic and political relationships.