Islamabad - The outgoing US ambassador Richard Olson has expressed the hope that Pakistan-US relations would be further strengthened in the years ahead.

Ambassador Olson made these remarks during his farewell meeting he separately held with President Mamnoon Hussain and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi yesterday. He conveyed his gratitude to the government and people of Pakistan for extending cooperation during his fruitful stay in the country.

Talking to the US ambassador, the President said that fighting terrorism is amongst Pakistan’s top priorities and there is a national consensus and commitment to combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

The President underlined that Pakistan’s policy on dealing with terrorist sanctuaries and militant organizations is very clear and the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb is targeting all terrorist outfits without discrimination. President Mamnoon Hussain expressed satisfaction that Pakistan-US relations are progressing well and highlighted the need to upgrade bilateral relations to a long-term strategic partnership.

Referring to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s upcoming visit to the US, the President said that Pakistan keenly anticipates fruitful and productive engagements between the prime minister and President Obama during the said visit.

The President appreciated the security related assistance provided to Pakistan by the US government and underscored the need to expand cooperation between Pakistan and the US beyond counterterrorism. He expressed satisfaction at the US commitment towards support for Pakistan’s economy, particularly the energy sector, and suggested the need to expand cooperation in the field of alternative and renewable energy sector as well as for the completion of projects such as Diamer Bhasha Dam project.

President Hussain observed that during the tenure of Ambassador Richard Olson, relations between both countries witnessed significant improvement and expressed the hope that his successor would continue his legacy, contributing in a similar manner towards further strengthening Pakistan-US relations.

The US Ambassador appreciated the Zarb-e-Azb operation and acknowledged the successes achieved against terrorists. Olson said that 1500MW electricity has been added in the national grid with the assistance of US and re-affirmed his country’s commitment for continued assistance to overcome the energy shortage and in construction of Diamer Bhasha Dam. President Mamnoon Hussain wished the outgoing ambassador success in his future endeavours.

Earlier in the day, Ambassador Richard Olson also paid a farewell call on the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi.

The Special Assistant appreciated the positive contribution of Ambassador Olson to the development of Pakistan-US relations during his stint as the US envoy. He also expressed satisfaction at the current upward trajectory being witnessed in Pakistan-US relations.