Key US senator urges Blinken to ensure Biden-Imran phone call

A key US senator has said that he has asked US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to urge President Joe Biden to have a conversation with Prime Minister Imran Khan in an effort to rebuild the relationship with Pakistan.
President Joe Biden, who assumed office in January this year, has not telephoned PM Imran Khan amid statements from key US functionaries that it would happen soon.
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R Sherman, who was recently in Pakistan, had said she believed the US president will soon talk to PM Imran Khan.
“We have an idea that every country wants to have a telephone conversation with US President. I am sure that this conversation will be held with Imran Khan soon,” the top US diplomat had said during an interaction with a group of editors.
“I am sure that this contact will take place soon, so I don’t think it should mean anything else.”
Speaking at a fundraising event on Sunday, Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, underscored the need for such conversations.
“I think it would serve us well to have such a conversation and, you know when we have these conversations, they are honest, and that means they are also transparent,” the senator said, referring to the request he had made to Secretary Blinken.
Such a course, he said, means “where there is an agreement, we build upon it and where there is disagreement, we talk about how do we get through that disagreement.”
“I think there is an extraordinary moment in which this is a relationship that can be rebuilt to what it once was,” Senator Menendez said.
“And if we can rebuild on it, we, I hope, can expand on it — not just about Pakistan in the context of a military or security dimension, but much greater– talking about an incredibly large population that is very young; there is tremendous opportunity to build upon the economic dynamism that we create,” he said.
“And that’s what I look forward to be able to continue to promote as your US senator,” Menendez told members of the American-Pakistani Political Action Committee (APPAC).
The event took place at the residence of Dr Tariq Ibrahim, an APPAC board member, in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.
Dr Ijaz Ahmad, the president of APPAC, was among those present, as was Asad Chaudhry, another board member.

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