US seeks “continued progress” from Pak PM Khan in defeating terror groups
Washington, Jul 24 : The US is seeking “continued progress” from Pakistan on shared security priorities, including defeating terror organisations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said, as he called on Prime Minister Imran Khan here.
India and Afghanistan accuse Pakistan of providing safe haven to the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other militant groups, which carry out terror attacks in the two countries.
India has not been engaging with Pakistan since a deadly attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot in 2016 by Pakistan-based terrorists. India has told Pakistan that talks and terror cannot go together.
During his talks with Prime Minister Khan, Pompeo emphasised the continued importance of the US and Pakistan working together to advance shared priorities, including Pakistan’s significant role in supporting the Afghan peace process and counter-terrorism, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a readout of the meeting here on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Khan undertook his first visit to the US this week to reset strained bilateral ties with Washington, held wide-ranging talks with President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday.
Pompeo said he “looked forward to continued progress from Pakistan on shared security priorities, including defeating terrorist organisations, which he hoped would form the basis of a reinvigorated partnership,” Ortagus quoted the Secretary of State as saying to Prime Minister Khan during the call on.
Pompeo had met Khan last in Islamabad on September 5, 2018.
During the meeting with Khan, Pompeo discussed opportunities for enhanced cooperation, including expanded trade and investment avenues.
In Islamabad, the Foreign Office issued a statement on the Khan-Pompeo meeting during which the Pakistan Prime Minister expressed satisfaction at his wide-ranging talks with President Trump.
He said that convergence on promoting a political solution in Afghanistan had created the opportunity for regional peace and stability. He added that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was vital for Pakistan. He emphasised the importance of close collaboration between Pakistan and US to advance that objective.
Khan said that a strong Pakistan-US partnership remained vital to the promotion of the mutual interests of the two countries as well as broader regional peace, stability and prosperity.
Reiterating his government’s support to a broad-based and enduring Pakistan-U.S. relationship, Khan emphasised the need to further enhance and diversify the bilateral content of the relationship in a wide range of areas.
Khan also briefed Pompeo about his government’s “successes in countering the scourge of terrorism and his initiatives to build peace in the region,” the statement said.
He noted that his government had taken “myriad administrative and legal measures” to mainstream madrasas in Pakistan.
As part of his policy of the “peaceful neighbourhood”, the Prime Minister Khan highlighted Pakistan’s desire for peaceful and cooperative relations with all neighbours.
He underscored the various initiatives taken to advance this objective with regard to India, the statement said.
“The Prime Minister underlined that the peace dividend for both countries would be enormous with peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes and would usher in an era of peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia,” the Pakistan Foreign Ministry statement added.
India has repeatedly asked Pakistan to take “credible and irreversible” steps to end cross-border terrorism and dismantle terrorist infrastructure from its soil.
Indian forces carried out counter-terror surgical strike against terrorist launch pads along the Line of Control in September 2016 and a pre-emptive counter terrorism air strike against terrorist camp in Balakot, Pakistan, in February after the Pulwama terror attack.
The meeting between Khan and Pompeo was also attended by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and other officials.
Pompeo was accompanied by Under-Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells and other officials.