ISLAMABAD - US Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Thomas R Nides called on President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani here on Monday and discussed bilateral relations and mutual cooperation, progress on various segments of strategic dialogue in the multi-faceted fields, issues of regional stability, including countering terrorism and peace in Afghanistan. During the meeting, the President emphasised the governments preference for trade rather than aid and said that the enhanced trade and investment ties between the two countries would promote economic activities and also help address the issues of poverty and unemployment in the under-developed and militancy-affected areas. The President said he was asking the world for helping Pakistan to build its own inherent economic strength through opportunities for grater trade and market access and not just aid. He said that global corporate sector should be in-sensitized to take part in joint ventures for profit. He reiterated Pakistans resolve to cooperate with the international forces in combating terrorism and militancy which he termed the common enemy of the world. He said that the government and the people of Pakistan have made unparallel human and economic sacrifices in the process of combating militancy and reiterated to continue the fight till the complete elimination of the vicious elements and forces involved in killing of innocent people in Pakistan and everywhere in the world. He said that it was in the interest of both the countries that relations based on respect for sovereignty and mutual trust and interest should move. The visiting US Deputy Secretary termed Pakistan as an important ally in the war against terrorism and for defeating the violent extremism. He acknowledged the great sacrifices of the people and law enforcing agencies of Pakistan for the worlds peace in the ongoing struggle against terror. He assured continued support and cooperation of the US government in combating terrorism and in all other fields. At the Aiwan-e-Sadr, Nides was accompanied by US Ambassador Cameron Munter, Dan Feldman, the deputy special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and other officials. Nides also called on Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday. During the meeting the Prime Minister stressed that the future joint strategy for peace and stability in the region should ensure political and economic stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Core Group of Pakistan, the USA and Afghanistan on peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan has the pivotal role in taking this process forward, he added. The Prime Minister emphasised the importance of strategic partnership between Pakistan and the US and called for early resumption of strategic dialogue by scheduling the plenary session of its next round. He emphasised that military action alone cannot be the solution of the present problems; reconciliation and dialogue have to be resorted to. The international community and the US in particular have to focus on socio-economic development in the militancy-affected areas and provide political space to the democratic government of Pakistan, he added. The Prime Minister identified the development of the energy sector as the most immediate requirement of Pakistan and called on the US to channelise its economic assistance to the high visibility power projects in Pakistan which would help building of its image as well. While appreciating timely US generous assistance for the resettlement and rehabilitation of IDPs of Swat and for Pakistans flood affectees, the Prime Minister hoped that disbursement of KLB assistance would be fast-tracked and the US would provide greater market access for Pakistani products by commencing negotiations on free trade agreement and provision of generalised system of preferences for trade facilities. Nides termed US relations with Pakistan as critically important for peace in the region as well as imperative for the US national security. There is dire need, he stated, to work together to achieve the benefits of our bilateral strategic relations. He said the US administration despite being under tremendous pressure for budgetary cuts, was doing its utmost to maintain the level of its economic assistance for Pakistan and had committed more than US $ 2 billion in the past eighteen months for undertaking the projects in Pakistans diverse sectors, particularly to help Pakistan overcome its energy shortages in the short and medium terms. He agreed with the Prime Minister on the importance of greater market access for Pakistani products and hoped that Pakistans Minister of State for Foreign and Economic Affairs would soon visit the US for further discussions on the subject. The meeting was attended by Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Finance, Syed Naveed Qamar, Minister for Water and Power, Ms Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and the secretaries Ministry of Water and Power as well as Economic Affairs Division. Pakistan and the United States have agreed to work jointly for the attainment of their common objectives, further widening bilateral relations, exchange of delegations and cooperation in the war on terror, said a separate report. The United States has also assured Pakistan of providing assistance for increasing power generation capacity at Tarbela Dam project. This was agreed during talks between the visiting US Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Thomas R Nides and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar at the Foreign Office here on Monday. Later talking to media, Hina Rabbani Khar said the two sides discussed the next phase of Pakistan-US Strategic Dialogue and increased cooperation in economic and trade fields. She said in the present scenario, Pakistan wants greater access of its products to international market to strengthen its economy and overcome the affects of war on terror. She said joint resolution of the Parliament has provided a welcome opportunity to the government to further its case. Thomas R Nides described the talks as productive and held in an atmosphere of cordiality. He said frequent visits of US delegations to Pakistan were very important and would bring improvement in bilateral relations. Nides assured that the US would provide assistance for power stations at Tarbela Dam. He said both the countries would have to work jointly for a democratic and prosperous Pakistan. He said the US recognises sacrifices of Pakistan in the war on terrorism. He also welcomed the transit trade agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan and said it would have far-reaching positive impact on the development of the region.