President Asif Ali Zardari spoke on phone to Senator John Kerry, the lead sponsor of a Pakistan aid bill that unanimously passed the Senate Thursday, authorizing $ 1.5 billion in annual assistance for the country over next five years The Pakistani leader, who is leading a high-profile delegation to the UN General Assembly session, also sopke to Senator Robert Casey and Special Representative Richard Holbrooke, discussing Pakistan-U.S. relations. President Zardari thanked the U.S. lawmakers and the Obama Administration's envoy for their expression of strong support for Pakistan in overcoming economic and security challenges. Meanwhile, Senator Kerry, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement that the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act represents a collaboration between both Democrats and Republicans, in both Senate and the House, to forge a new long-term relationship between the people of America and Pakistan. "The fact that President Obama was able to announce this at the United Nations sends an important message to Pakistan and the world of our strengthened commitment to this relationship." "The fundamentals of the bill are precisely those enshrined in the version passed by the Senate in June: Tripling of non-military aid to $ 1.5 billion per year, for each of the next five years' with a Congressional recommendation that this commitment to roads, schools, and other projects directly benefiting the Pakistani people be continued for an additional half-decade." Senator Richard Lugar, the Ranking Republican on the Committee said, "The United States has an intense strategic interest in Pakistan and the surrounding region." "We should make clear to the people of Pakistan that our interests are focused on democracy, pluralism, stability, and the fight against terrorism," he said according to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "These are values supported by a large majority of the Pakistani people. If Pakistan is to break its debilitating cycle of instability, it will need to achieve progress on fighting corruption, delivering government services and promoting broad based economic growth. The international community and the United States should support reforms that contribute to the strengthening of Pakistani civilian institutions."