Shehbaz to interact with Biden on UNGA sidelines

by IANS |

Islamabad, Sep 20 (IANS) Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will get a chance to interact with US President Joe Biden this week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York, according to a Foreign Office (FO) official.

Sharif is among the world leaders attending the UNGA session who has been invited by President Biden to a reception in New York, The Express Tribune quoted the official as saying.

Although there won't be any bilateral meeting between the two leaders, the premier will interact with the US president informally during the reception.

This will be the first interaction between Biden and a sitting Pakistani Prime Minister since the President took office in early 2021.

Biden has not spoken to either former Prime Minister Imran Khan or Sharif, The Express Tribune reported.

The meeting despite being informal will be significant given the fact that the Biden administration during Imran's government largely ignored Pakistan.

But since the change of government, there has been a flurry of engagements between the two countries.

A senior adviser of the US Secretary of State recently visited Pakistan while the Biden administration also approved the $450 million sale of F-16 equipment to Pakistan.

After the UNGA session, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will visit Washington on an official visit and meet Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

This will be his second meeting with the Secretary of State in a few months as he earlier met him in New York at the sidelines of the Food Security summit.

Also on the sidelines of the UNGA, Sharif will meet French President Emmanuel Macron -- the first bilateral meeting between leaders of the two nations in seven years.

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