ISLAMABAD Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that strong US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue mechanism is extremely important for enhancing the bilateral relationship between the two countries. He was talking to David Lipton, Special Assistant to the US President, who called on him here at the Prime Ministers House on Wednesday. David Lipton is also member of the US National Economic Council and Senior Director of the US National Security Council, at the White House. The Prime Minister said it is equally essential to create linkages that last beyond the ten-year period of the Kerry-Lugar assistance programme. Such linkages and interactions, he added, are vital for ensuring the peace and security of the region and beyond. The Prime Minister expressed confidence that David Liptons visit to Islamabad for the 5th Strategic Dialogue meetings on energy, economy, finance and market access would exhibit positive results. While elaborating the state of economy in Pakistan, the Prime Minister mentioned that the law and order situation, being a frontline state against terrorism, has imposed heavy burden on the economy. The development budget had to be cut down to meet the security needs and to ensure safety of the citizens. The Prime Minister said that Pakistan is committed to the economic reforms to bring economic stability. The Government, he mentioned, even had to take some unpopular decisions in accordance with IMF programme but remained determined to improve the economic systems so as to bring change in the country. The state enterprises, he added, are being restructured to convert there into viable entities, and reduce economic pressures on development initiatives. The Prime Minister emphasised that Pakistan needs US support for access to Pakistani products in the international markets. Pakistan believes in achieving economic sustenance through increased trade rather than assistance. The Prime Minister said he is looking forward to the visit of US Secretary of State Ms Hillary Clinton to Pakistan in July and added it would make a positive impact and generate positive messages for the bilateral relations. David Lipton said that the US is pleased with the progress on the Strategic Dialogue process and considers it a fruitful exercise to strengthen relations between the two friendly countries. He acknowledged that it was heartening to note that the economy of Pakistan has been stabilised and expressed hope that the economic reforms would further bring improvement. Regarding ROZs, he mentioned it is being taken up with the Congress and Senate and would get through soon. Regarding his interaction with Pakistani officials, he expressed confidence that it would have positive outcome, which would enhance ties and better understanding between the two countries. Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs, Ms Hina Rabbani Khar also attended the meeting.