Mike Pompeo arrives in Pakistan

Islamabad: United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday arrived in Islamabad to hold talks on various issues with the Pakistani leadership.

Pompeo, who is being accompanied by US military chief General Joseph Dunford, is expected to hold meetings with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, The Dawn reported.

Pompeo and Dunford touched down at Nur Khan Airbase in Islamabad after 1 pm (local time). This is the first high-level visit by Pompeo to Pakistan after the new government took over last month.

On being quizzed about his visit to Pakistan, the US Secretary of State told media persons travelling with him that the trip was being made in an effort to reset the bilateral ties between Washington and Islamabad. He acknowledged that there are plenty of challenges to be tackled, and expressed hope that the new Pakistan government would resolve the irritants affecting the relations of both countries.

Pompeo elucidated: “I wanted to get out there at the beginning of his time in an effort to reset the relationship between the two countries. We have worked closely with the Pakistanis in my role as CIA director. Our teams have been working together for a long time. There are lots of challenges between our two nations for sure, but we’re hopeful that with the new leadership that we can find a common ground and begin to work on some of our shared problems together. They have expressed good-faith intention to do so.”

“Chairman Dunford and I are heading out there together to have those conversations. We’ll also meet with General Bajwa, who I’ve met with a number of times, and my counterpart, Foreign Minister Qureshi. So we’ll have three opportunities to walk through the complexity that is this relationship and hopefully begin to make some progress so that we can get back to a set of common understandings. So that’s really the very straightforward objective. I think it’s important to meet the new prime minister (Imran Khan) early on in his time in office,” he added.

Pompeo is slated to arrive in India later in the day to participate in the inaugural India-US 2+2 dialogue, which would take place on Thursday.