Pompeo urges steps to rebuild trust between Pakistan, US

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has said that his visit to Islamabad led to an agreement that now is the time for the United States and Pakistan to deliver on their commitments.

In a wrap-up of his two-day visit to South Asia, Mr Pompeo emphasised the need to rebuild trust between Pakistan and the United States.

“In Pakistan yesterday (Wednesday), we agreed that it’s time to start delivering on our joint commitments,” he told the journalists travelling with him.

“There was broad agreement between myself, Foreign Minister [Shah Mehmood] Qureshi, and Prime Minister [Imran] Khan that we need to take steps that will deliver outcomes on the ground, allowing us to begin to build confidence and trust between our two countries,” he added.

Mr Pompeo and US military chief Gen Joseph Dunford had stopped over in Islamabad for their first face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Khan and his team before flying to New Delhi.

Later, Secretary Pompeo told journalists that he hoped his meetings in Islamabad had laid the ground for resetting the US-Pakistan relationship.

Close allies during the Cold War and in the fight against terrorism, the US and Pakistan have been gradually drifting away from each other since 2011. Their relations soured further in January this year when the Trump administration suspended US security assistance to Pakistan to force it to back the new US strategy for Afghanistan.

Mr Pompeo’s brief visit to Islamabad, however, was the first visible effort to reset those ties, as Mr Pompeo said.

But the US-India joint statement shows that both Pakistan and the US need to do more to remove the tensions that have strained their relations.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2018



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