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Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Before Their Meeting – United States Department of State

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon, everyone.  I’m very pleased to be meeting with my friend and counterpart from Pakistan, Foreign Minister Qureshi.  We’ve had many opportunities to speak on the phone these many months, but finally now an opportunity (inaudible) at the UN General Assembly to see each other in person.  A lot to focus on, starting with Afghanistan and the importance of our countries working together and going forward on Afghanistan.  (Inaudible) appreciate the work that Pakistan has done to facilitate the departure of American citizens who wish to leave as well as others, but a lot to talk about there as well as our own bilateral relationship, including the economic relationship between our countries and working in the region as a whole.

So it’s a pleasure to see you.  Look forward to a very good conversation.

FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI:  Well, thank you, Secretary Blinken.  Thank you for your time today.  I’m glad to be meeting face-to-face with you.  As you said, we’ve had three telephone phone conversations discussing the regional situation, the Afghan situation.  I thought a time would come where we’d be talking beyond Afghanistan, but it seems Afghanistan is there, we can’t wish it away, and we have to find a way of collectively working to achieve our common objective, which is peace and stability.  So it gives me a good opportunity to discuss the evolving situation in Afghanistan, to discuss our bilateral relations, and the delicate situation in South Asia.  So I’m looking forward to my meeting with the Secretary.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thank you all.

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