Shehbaz-Khar discussion on ties with US leaked

The record of the discussion on crucial foreign policy, which has been named ‘Discord Leaks’, also reveals the Premier’s conversation on the United Nations’ voting on the Ukraine and Russia conflict…reports Asian Lite News

The record of an important discussion between Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar was leaked wherein the two, along with an assistant, were talking about Pakistan’s ties with the US, reports said on Sunday.

The record of the discussion on crucial foreign policy, which has been named ‘Discord Leaks’, also reveals the Premier’s conversation on the United Nations’ voting on the Ukraine and Russia conflict, Geo News reported, citing the Washington Post.

As per the leaked documents, Khar said that Pakistan should avoid appeasing the West and that the country’s desire to maintain a strategic partnership with the US would sacrifice the full benefits of its original strategic partnership with the long-term friendly nation China, Geo News reported.

“According to one of the leaked documents, Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, argued in March that her country can ‘no longer try to maintain a middle ground between China and the United States,” it cited the US paper as reporting.

During the discussion, an aide advised the Prime Minister that supporting the resolution could jeopardise Pakistan’s trade and energy deals with Russia and would give the impression of a change in Pakistan’s position.

The story by Washington Post, in which the record has been leaked, revolved around the declining support for the US on the war between Russia and Ukraine.

“When the UN General Assembly voted February 23, Pakistan was among 32 countries that abstained,” it noted

Hina Rabbani Khar(twitter)

Russian oil purchase

Pakistans Ambassador to the US, Masood Khan has confirmed that Islamabad is buying crude oil at discounted rates from Russia, highlighting that the Biden administration in Washington had no issues with the decision.

Speaking at a conference in Washington D.C. by Wilson Center’s South Asia Institute on the future of relations between Pakistan and the US, Khan said that Islamabad had placed its first order for Russian oil, which he said was done after positive consultation with the Washington.

“We have placed the first order for Russian oil, and this has been done in consultation with the US government. There’s no misunderstanding between Washington and Islamabad on this count.

“They (US) have suggested that we are free to buy anything below or up to the price cap, and we have abided by that agreement. I think Washington is fine with that,” the envoy added.

Khan’s statement was echoed by the US State Department’s principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel, who said that the administration did not oppose the deal.

“Each country is going to make its own sovereign decisions as it relates to its energy supply,” Patel said, adding that the Biden administration had left the doors and options open for such purchases, a change in policy which previously restricted states on Russian oil after Moscow attacked and invaded Ukraine last year.

“One of the reasons that the US, through the G7, has been a big proponent of the price cap is to ensure that steps are not being taken to keep Russian energy off the market because we understand that there is a demand for supply,” he said.

The news of import of crude oil from Russia was also confirmed by Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who stated that his government was set to receive inaugural shipment of crude oil.

The decision holds great importance as it not only supports and bring respite to cash-strapped Pakistan, but also gives a positive confidence boost to the government which has been struggling to avert the balance of payments crisis in light of the wait for the revival of the crucial financial plan of International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Pakistan.

Experts say that US’ decision to not oppose Pakistan’s deal with Russia for crude oil, indicates that ties between Washington and Islamabad are coming back on track.

“We are back in business. It is important that the United States restores for Pakistan foreign military financing and foreign military sales, which were suspended by the previous administration of Donald Trump,” said Ambassador Khan. (with inputs from Hamza Ameer)

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