Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, October 20th, 2017

Partnership with Pakistan Key to Regional Stability: US

Partnership with Pakistan Key to Regional Stability: US

KABUL - After a meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif at the State Department on Wednesday, the secretary said they discussed bilateral issues as well as cooperation on combating terrorism.
Differences between the allies on US President Donald Trump’s Afghan policy also came up for discussion, both diplomats were quoted as saying by Pakistani media outlets.
“As we rolled out the South Asia strategy, we spoke about it in a regional context. It is not just about Afghanistan,” Tillerson said, adding it was also about the importance of Pakistan and its long-term stability.
President Trump unveiled his Afghan policy in late August, blaming Pakistan for providing safe havens to agents of chaos, violence and terror. He also threatened the US could no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens;
In an angry reaction, Pakistan immediately cancelled follow-up meetings with American officials. The hiatus ended when Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi pushed Pakistan’s point of view across in a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence in New York.
After Wednesday's meeting, Tillerson said the US had concerns about the future of Pakistan’s government. “We want their government to be stable and we want it to be peaceful.”
He said “many of the same issues they’re struggling with inside Pakistan are our issues.” He described the meeting an opportunity to strengthen the bilateral relationship.
“We are going to be working very hard at all levels, from the State Department to the Defence Department to our intelligence communities, as well as economic, commerce, opportunities as well.”
The News quoted Tillerson as saying that Pakistan’s partnership with the US was critical and it was the Trump administration’s regional approach for the long-term stability of the region.
For his part, Khawaja Asif said Pakistan and the US shared a common desire for peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region at large. Pakistan sought a broad-based relationship with the US, building on decades of successful cooperation.
A statement from the Pakistan embassy in Washington said the foreign minister pointed out that Islamabad was winning its war against terrorism. He made clear Pakistan pursued a zero tolerance and indiscriminate approach in its campaign against terrorist and militant groups.
“He informed the secretary of state with regard to the strong public reaction in Pakistan to the pronouncement of US administration’s South Asia policy -- based on inadequate recognition of Pakistan’s sterling contribution in the fight against terrorism."
“Secretary Tillerson acknowledged and appreciated the sacrifices rendered by the people and armed forces of Pakistan in the struggle against terrorism," the statement added.
He agreed cooperation between Pakistan and the United States in Afghanistan was crucial to achieving durable peace and stability in the region. He promised Pakistan’s interests and concerns would be accommodated since its role was critical to President Trump’s South Asia strategy.
Asif reiterated Pakistan’s position on the need for an Afghan-led political approach to achieving peace and stability. He conveyed Pakistan’s concerns with regard to ungoverned spaces within Afghanistan, from which attacks against Pakistan continued to be planned and carried out. (Pahwok)