ISLAMABAD - US Deputy Secretary of State, Tony Blinken talked to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on telephone and expressed best wishes for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on behalf of Secretary of State, John Carry and on his own behalf.

Finance minister thanked him and stated that he would convey the sentiments expressed by him and Kerry to the Prime Minister.

Blinken expressed that he was looking forward to meeting the Finance Minister on the sidelines of World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington and it was unfortunate that the Dar had to cancel his visit. Finance minister informed Blinken that he had to cancel the visit due to Prime Minister’s urgent medical visit to the UK and he looked forward to a future opportunity for a meeting.

Blinken also invited the finance minister to visit the US in June 2016 for the Business Opportunities Conference. Finance Minister thanked him for the invitation. Blinken sought support of the Government of Pakistan, for the Global Connect Initiative, launched by US President Barack Obama last year to complement efforts to achieve global connectivity targets under United Nations General Assembly’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Finance minister stated that the government was supportive of the initiative and was already working on extending the internet coverage to all corners of the country.

Blinken congratulated the finance minister on the successes achieved by Pakistan in the Zarb-e-Azb operation. Finance minister stated that the all the national institutions were committed to take the campaign against terrorism and extremism to its logical conclusion.

United States Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Olson also called the Finance Minister on phone and expressed his best wishes for the health of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Finance Minister thanked Ambassador Olson for his sentiments, which he said will be conveyed to the Prime Minister.