Home South Asia Pakistan Personal connection Done, Time to achieve goals: US to Pakistan

Personal connection Done, Time to achieve goals: US to Pakistan

The US State Department spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, noted that the meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US President Donald Trump, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, provided an opportunity to build a personal connection and rapport. The two countries must now build upon this partnership by achieving their goals of Afghan peace and eradicating terrorism.

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The US State Department noted that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit allowed US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo the opportunity to build a “personal connection and rapport” with the Prime Minister, and now, it is time to build upon the success of this visit.

Addressing a media briefing at the US State Department, official Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, noted that the meeting between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House on 22nd July allowed the leadership of the two countries to form personal connections.

Ms Ortagus said, “This meeting, of course, gave the chance for the President and the Secretary to meet with Prime Minister Khan, to build a personal connection and rapport. And now we think it’s time to make progress on the success of this first meeting.”

Referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s promise to urge the Taliban for an intra-Afghan dialogue, Ms Ortagus noted, “I would note one of the things that the prime minister says that he vowed to urge the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan Government.”

US Committed to Afghan Peace

Ms Ortagus continued, “We are committed to peace in Afghanistan. We think that was an important step. And there was a number of issues that were discussed not only in the President’s meeting but with the Secretary’s meeting as well, and now is the time to build upon that meeting and to build upon those commitments.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Pakistan House in Washington on 23rd July, to discuss the Afghan reconciliation process

Responding to a question on “unhappiness” and disappointment of the Afghan people on President Trump’s callous comments on ending the war with a military solution, the US State Department spokesperson recounted the economic and human losses the US has suffered during the war in Afghanistan.

She said, “I would remind the Afghan people the countless number of thousands, of tens of thousands of lives that – American lives and lives of our NATO allies and our European allies that have been lost fighting in Afghanistan for the people of Afghanistan to have a right to choose their own future. Not just the number of lives lost but the billions of dollars that have been spent there.”

Ms Ortagus added, “You could probably look at most of the people in this room that serve here at the State Department, and we have either served ourselves or we have had family members that have served. I have someone on my staff who has been – is serving there right now.”

“So I think that the people of Afghanistan should know that for almost 20 years, Americans have lost their lives and have spent their hard-earned taxpayer money to see the people of Afghanistan have a choice for their own future. And that commitment has not been a small commitment. That has been a vast and sweeping commitment by the American people.”

Read more: Pak-US: Satisfactory relationship

Responding to a question on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announced that there would be “good news on US hostages in the next 24 hours”, Ms Ortagus noted that the Trump-led administration has a “very strong record” on bringing back American hostages.

She noted, “We take human lives incredibly seriously, and we will use every means available at our disposal to secure and to see the secure and safe return of American citizens who are held hostage abroad. The prime minister did say that. We are, of course, working closely with the Pakistanis on recovering them. We think his statements were helpful and we’re of course hopeful that there will be some action proceeding those statements.”

Pak-US Partnership

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Pakistan House in Washington on 23rd July, to discuss the Afghan reconciliation process and Pakistan’s role in facilitating an intra-Afghan dialogue.

In a press release issued after the meeting, the US State Department noted, “Secretary Pompeo welcomed the occasion to discuss opportunities for enhanced cooperation, including expanded trade and investment opportunities.”

The US has brushed aside India’s pressure not to resume any aid after Islamabad used F16 against India after Balakot as it alleged.

It further added, “The Secretary looked forward to continued progress from Pakistan on shared security priorities, including defeating terrorist organizations, which he hoped would form the basis of a reinvigorated partnership.”

Addressing a seminar at the US Institute of Peace, Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to facilitate a peaceful political solution to the 19-year old Afghan war, and urge the Taliban to engage in direct talks with the Kabul government.

On Thursday, a spokesperson of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar confirmed that the Taliban await an official invitation from Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit Islamabad. Reiterating Pakistan’s vision on the Afghan peace process, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had tweeted, “Pakistan and the United States share a common goal in Afghanistan, to establish a lasting peace, which cannot be achieved through military might.”

Read more: Taliban to visit Islamabad if invited: A journey towards Peace

FM Qureshi added, “Pakistan has always sought a political solution and together we are closer to that goal today than ever before.”

Analysts and politicians have welcome the US decision to resume sales and aid to support Pakistan’s F16 fleet, regarding it as a significant development in the aftermath of the diplomatic and military-level engagement between the two countries.

Jan Achakzai, prominent political analyst, observed, “US government’s decision to resume RRC cost of Pakistan’s F16 fleet is big breakthrough in aftermath of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit.”

He continued, “It is a significant improvement in bilateral relations as the Trump administration tries rebuild strained relations.”

Achakzai added, “The US has brushed aside India’s pressure not to resume any aid after Islamabad used F16 against India after Balakot as it alleged. It is also a snub for Delhi after its purchase of S400 from Russia. It suggests a revamp of two countries’ military-2-military ties.”

The Baloch geo-strategic analyst concluded, “As President Trump suggested he may restore some assurance, payment if held up coalition support fund, will likely be followed suit.”

“But the maintenance payment RRC (Rate Running Contract) decision marks the beginning of positive trajectory of ties.”

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