UNITED NATIONS    -   Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that relations between Pakistan and the United States were improving and he was hopeful progress could be made on critical regional issues.

“I think last year since this government came into office, there has been somewhat of a reset and things have improved,” Qureshi said of the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan. “There has been more interaction at the highest level; we’ve had two very good meetings with President Trump,” he told VOA. Prime Minister Imran Khan met with US President Donald Trump on Monday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. They had met previously at the White House in July.

“I have a very good relationship with Prime Minister Imran Khan,” Trump told reporters before their Monday meeting.

He added that he trusted him and that he felt “in a positive way” about Pakistan.

“We’ve been working closely with them, pushing forward the peace process in Afghanistan,” Qureshi said, referring to the Trump administration.  Another area where there is potential for cooperation is trade, “and trade, I think, maybe is one of the most important,” Trump said on Monday.

“We’re going to increase trade with Pakistan by a tremendous margin.”  As for the lost financial assistance, Qureshi was cautiously optimistic.  “We haven’t really spoken about it, but I’m sure as a better understanding takes place, this will be resolved,” he said.  As for the talks between the US and the Taliban that collapsed earlier this month, he said that it was disappointing.

“According to all sides, the deal had been struck. The agreement was there. It was initialed. Both sides had even agreed to a date when a deal was to be signed. Then the next phase of the intra-Afghan dialogue was to start in Oslo,” he said.

“We still feel there is no other way but to resume the dialogue, because there is no military solution to the Afghan problem. The only way forward is a negotiated political solution,” he added.