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US says it looks forward to working with new PM Shehbaz Sharif

WASHINGTON, Apr 15: The United States looks forward to working with the new Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his government to promote peace and prosperity in Pakistan and the broader region, State Department spokesperson Ned Price has said.

The spokesperson, who was responding to questions at his daily new briefing on Thursday, also repeated his government’ denial of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s  allegations that U.S. played a role in ousting him.

“There is no truth whatsoever to the allegations that have been put forward,”  Price said.

“We support the peaceful upholding of constitutional and democratic principles, including respect for human rights”, he said, adding, “We do not support, whether it’s in Pakistan or anywhere else around the world, one political party over another.

“We support broader principles, including the rule of law and equal justice under the law.”

The department spokesman also said that the United States agrees with the Pakistani military spokesperson, who denied Imran Khan’s claims that Washington had conspired with his political opponents to force him from office, but did point out that the U.S. had used language that amounted to interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

“We would agree with it,” Price said, when asked to comment on the statement made by ISPR Spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar.

Replying to a question, Price said for almost 75 years, the relationship between the United States and Pakistan has been “a vital”.

“We look forward to continuing that work with Pakistan’s government to promote peace and prosperity in Pakistan and the broader region”, he said.

A day earlier, Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Sharif and said the US values the bilateral relationship and is looking forward to continuing the long-standing cooperation, signaling Washington’s intent to improve ties with Islamabad under the new government.

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