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Pompeo Visit: “Impasse in Pak-US relations broken”

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News Analysis |

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi asserted that an impasse in Pakistan-US relations had been broken during talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who visited Pakistan on Wednesday. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met new Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday, saying he was hopeful of “a reset of relations” long strained over the war in Afghanistan.

FM Shah Mahmood also tweeted his optimism about a reset in relations.

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi received the US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Welcoming the visiting Secretary of State, the Foreign Minister emphasized that Pakistan looked forward to building sustainable ties with the United States based on mutual trust and respect.

During the delegation level talks held at the Foreign Office, Secretary Pompeo was accompanied by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, David Hale. Foreign Minister Qureshi was assisted by the Foreign Secretary and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met new Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday, saying he was hopeful of “a reset of relations” long strained over the war in Afghanistan.

During the discussions, the two sides exchanged views on bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest. The Foreign Minister highlighted that the priority of the new Government was socio-economic development and, for the success of people-centered agenda and economic reforms, an enabling regional security environment was imperative. Foreign Minister Qureshi reaffirmed that improving relations with neighbors was a priority.

Read more: U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Pakistan in the…

In the context of Afghanistan, the Foreign Minister highlighted the latest positive developments on the Pakistan Afghanistan front, including operationalization of the Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS). He reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to continue efforts for promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan. The two sides agreed that present conditions in Afghanistan were conducive to intensifying efforts for a political settlement. They underscored the need for the Taliban to seize the opportunity for talks in response to President Ghani’s offer for an unconditional dialogue.

Secretary Pompeo stated that US fully supported the reform agenda of Prime Minister Imran Khan and wished the government success in its implementation. Noting the importance of the longstanding Pak-US relationship, Secretary Pompeo conveyed the US desire to work with Pakistan in furthering the shared objectives of peace and stability in Afghanistan.

https://www.facebook.com/PTIOfficial/videos/233992827291854/

Additionally, Secretary Pompeo and General Dunford paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister and held a meeting with the Chief of Army Staff. Pompeo’s visit, along with the U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was the first high-level U.S. mission to the new government. It aimed to smooth over tensions after President Donald Trump took a tough new line towards Pakistan over longstanding accusations it is not doing enough to root out Afghan Taliban fighters on its territory.

Pompeo met with Khan as well as Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and the country’s powerful army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa. “We talked about their new government, the opportunity to reset the relationship between our two countries across a broad spectrum,” including business ties and ending the war in Afghanistan, Pompeo told reporters before leaving for India.

Welcoming the visiting Secretary of State, the Foreign Minister emphasized that Pakistan looked forward to building sustainable ties with the United States based on mutual trust and respect.

“And I’m hopeful that the foundation that we laid today will set the conditions for continued success as we start to move forward.” Khan, a former cricket star who swept to power in the July elections, also struck a positive tone. ”I’m a born optimist. A sportsman always is an optimist. He steps on the field and he thinks he’s going to win,” Khan told reporters.

Before the meeting, there was a segment of politicians and analysts who did not want a meeting between the PM and Pompeo. Former chairman Senate and Pakistan People’s Party stalwart Senator Raza Rabbani had advised Prime Minister Imran Khan not to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Raza Rabbani said, “The meeting of Prime Minister of Pakistan with US Secretary of State is against the protocol. Pompeo should only meet with his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi.”

Read more: Pompeo set to land in ‘sovereign’ Pakistan today

The former chairman Senate went on to say, “US made PM Imran-Pompeo phone call transcript public. It is another tactic to mount pressure.” “The United States stopped Pakistan’s funds second time. Islamabad is not asking for any aid but Washington is not reimbursing expenses of war against terrorism.”

But there were also those who desired such a meeting in an attempt for the new government to navigate the political minefield of US-Pakistan relations. And, to many, including foreign observers, Islamabad’s displeasure was evident since Pompeo landed.

https://twitter.com/viitvdotcom/status/1037316269161230337

Many ascertained that Pompeo himself was more focused on the Indian visit form the 2+2 talks where he was received more warmly.

Many analysts now state that Pompeo’s visit did not receive its aims. It could not coerce the Pakistani government to “do more”. Mike Pompeo himself said the U.S. and Pakistan had got a long way to go to reset troubled ties after a visit in which he sought Islamabad’s help in ending the war in Afghanistan. Western media outlets have noted that Pompeo went away without a solid deal on Afghanistan.

It seems that “Naya” Pakistan has stood its ground in its first engagement with a belligerent America. It can be asserted that the road to a new reset in ties has been initiated in which the specter of Do More and a Client state will be buried.