U.S pledges to help Pakistan rebuild its economy

ISLAMABAD:  A State Department spokeswoman assured Islamabad of strong support from Washington for its attempts to reconstruct the South Asian nation's economy, hours after Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari landed in New York for a series of meetings with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

According to reports, the United States  "will continue to work bilaterally on ways to enhance investment and trade possibilities to build a successful and stable Pakistan." The US also "welcomes current IMF (International Monetary Fund) negotiations with Pakistan," according to the spokeswoman.

IMF sources in Washington also confirmed that Pakistan and the Fund would begin review talks in Doha on Wednesday in order to get a staff-level agreement for the disbursement of a $1 billion tranche under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

Pakistan will use the week-long assessment to persuade the IMF to restart a stalled $6 billion programme aimed at stabilising its cash-strapped economy.  A public show of support from the US would help Islamabad's efforts to resuscitate the programme, as well as calm optimistic market tendencies.

The spokeswoman also confirmed media reports that Secretary Blinken and Bhutto-Zardari met one-on-one. Earlier in New York, the Foreign Minister told journalists that during his UN engagements, he would communicate Pakistan's perspective on numerous issues with the international community.

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