FM Qureshi will reach US today to hold meetings with top officials

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will arrive in New York today to meet with the leadership of the United Nations (UN), as the Security Council of the international body convenes to discuss the alarming situation in Indian occupied Kashmir, Radio Pakistan reported.

During his visit to New York, Qureshi will meet UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.

At a regular briefing on Tuesday, UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric confirmed the UN chief’s meeting with the foreign minister, saying it was taking place at Pakistan’s request.

In response to a question, the spokesperson said Guterres had been advocating dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve outstanding problems and that any solution should take into account the human rights situation in Kashmir.

The foreign minister will then travel to Washington where he will meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor Robert O’ Brian and other senior US administration officials. He will also have meetings on the Capitol Hill, besides engagements with the media, policy think tanks and the Pakistani diaspora.

Qureshi’s visit to United States comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran after the former killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad. Iran retaliated by targeting a US troops base in Iraq.

The foreign minister, in his talks with the US leadership, will focus on Pakistan’s diplomatic outreach, which has been undertaken on the direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan, in the wake of the recent tensions in the Middle East.

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Middle East peace mission

Qureshi has already visited Iran and Saudi Arabia, where he met the two countries’ leaders in an effort to ease tensions in the region after a US airstrike killed Soleimani.

The foreign minister embarked on the mission as tensions mounted across the Middle East following the 62-year-old general’s death in Iraq and Iran’s admission that it shot down an airliner by mistake, killing 176 people on board.

“Recent developments seriously endanger peace and security in an already volatile region and underscore the need for immediate and collective efforts for a peaceful resolution,” the foreign office said as Qureshi left for Tehran on the first leg of his trip.