Islamabad (September 05, 2018): US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford on Wednesday landed in Islamabad.
This is the first high-level visit from Washington since the new government assumed office.
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Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he hopes to reset the relations between the two countries.
“We hope that both countries could leave the past behind and begin to make progress,” Pompeo said while speaking to the media en route to Islamabad.
“We will have three opportunities to walk through the complexity that is this relationship and hopefully begin to make some progress so that we can get back to set of common understandings. So that’s really the very straightforward objective,” the US secretary of state regarding his visit.
Speaking to the media from the airplane, Pompeo also indicated that the Trump administration could release aid to Pakistan that was halted earlier this year.“Pakistan was told this past summer that they weren’t likely to get that money,” the Secretary said.
Stating that the rationale for Pakistan not getting the money is very clear, he said, “It’s that we haven’t seen the progress that we need to see from them.”
“And the very reason for this trip is to try and articulate what it is our expectation is, the things that they can do, the things that they expect us to do, and see if we can’t find a path forward together,” he upheld.
Further, Pompeo stressed on Pakistan’s assistance and help to resolve issues related to stability in Afghanistan.
“We need Pakistan to seriously engage to help us get to the reconciliation we need in Afghanistan,” he said and mentioned General Nicholson and General Miller having the same opinion on the issue.Pakistanis have “important interests, security interests in Afghanistan to make sure they get the issues at their border right, and we need their help”, Pompeo said.
He was also hopeful that his trip could convince the new government in Pakistan to provide the assistance for reconciliation in Afghanistan.
Pompeo said that the eventual result of working together could mean the aid to Pakistan could revive. “If that arises again, I am confident we’ll present to the US president the rationale for that, and then something like that might make sense,” the US secretary of state said.
US Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo and Military Chief, General Dunford are expected to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and their counterpart during the visit. Pompeo arrived in Islamabad days after the Trump administration cancelled USD 300 million in military aid to Pakistan as it was not doing enough against terrorist groups inside its borders, the latest controversy to hit Islamabad’s troubled relationship with Washington.
Pompeo will be in Islamabad ahead of the maiden 2+2 Dialogue between India and the US in New Delhi on September 6.
Earlier, US Defense Secretary, during a news briefing at Pentagon, said that US had permanent interests in South Asia and wanted to maintain a presence there to have influence in the region. He further added that US delegation and Pakistani officials will be deciding future ties in the meeting.
US Military Chief said that US wants to maintain diplomatic and security presence in South Asia.