U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at the State Department on Monday and said that America had provided $56.5 million in aid to Pakistan for flood relief and humanitarian assistance this year.
Mr. Blinken expressed his sorrow over the devastation and loss of life throughout Pakistan caused by catastrophic flooding.
"Mr. Blinken reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the people of Pakistan, noting the nearly $56.5 million in flood relief and humanitarian assistance provided this year as well as the additional $10 million of food security assistance announced today," read the U.S. State Department press release.
The U.S. Secretary and the Pakistan Foreign Minister also discussed partnering on food security, economic prosperity, regional stability, and Afghanistan.
"Welcomed Pakistani Foreign Minister @BBhuttoZardari to the @StateDept to reaffirm our close partnership for economic prosperity, regional stability, and food security. I also emphasized our continued support for flood relief, including nearly $56.5 million in aid. #PakUSAt75," tweeted Mr. Blinken.
Mr. Blinken and Foreign Minister Bhutto Zardari focused on various issues including the marking of 75 years of the countries' relations, security and the devastating floods in Pakistan. Since mid-June, unprecedented heavy rains and flooding gripped Pakistan, the military has been engaged in relief and rescue efforts across the country struggling with the deluge that has killed more than 1,600 people.
"We stand in strong solidarity with our friends in Pakistan, not only in solidarity," said Mr. Blinken. "We are doing everything we can to be of assistance at this moment, just as Pakistan has been of assistance to us, including at the beginning of COVID."
Responding to Mr. Blinken, Mr. Bhutto stressed climate change that has brought one of the most devastating floods in the history of Pakistan. "This is a global problem that needs global solutions, and your President has shown leadership on the climate front, so I think we're ready to be partners on this agenda," said Mr. Bhutto.
Speaking on 75-year diplomatic relations between the two countries, he said, "I think Pakistan and the United States have shown over the last 75 years that we've been great powers - great partners, great partners, and we've achieved great things together. In fact, whenever we've - there's developed a distance, we've faltered, and I think it's a great testament to our diplomatic relations that we've not only withstood the tests of time but we are now re-engaged in a broader framework."