Mike Pompeo to visit Pakistan on Sept 5

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has confirmed that United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would pay a visit to the country on September 5.

While addressing a press conference here on Friday, Qureshi termed the relations between Pakistan and the US as “vital.” The Express Tribune quoted Qureshi as saying, “The importance of Pak-US ties is not lost on anyone. There have been ups and downs but it is a vital relationship.”

Earlier, the US reiterated its statement that during the telephonic conversation between Pompeo and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Washington had sought ‘decisive action’ against terrorists operating from Pakistan.

Commenting on the same, however, Qureshi said that the statement was “factually incorrect.” Terming the conversation between Khan and Pompeo as “very good”, Qureshi continued, “As per my understanding, the statement issued by the US State Department was factually incorrect. I was in Multan when Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua called me regarding the matter. I told her to confirm the conversation and issue a rebuttal immediately. She was present during the phone call between PM Imran and Pompeo.”

US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, who issued the statement, confirmed that the issue of terrorism was raised by Pompeo and added that Washington stood by its readout. Her response came after Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mohammad Faisal dismissed the statement and claimed that there was no mention of terrorism during the conversation between Pompeo and Khan.

The Pakistan foreign minister underscored that along with the US, Pakistan also wished for the stability of Afghanistan. He added that his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi would also visit Pakistan on September 8, the report said.

Speaking on the relations between India and Pakistan, Qureshi asserted that Islamabad was ready for a dialogue and emphasised on the need to move forward.

Recalling Khan’s speech last month, Qureshi said, “Pakistan is not shy of the dialogue process. Prime Minister Imran (Khan) clearly said in his maiden speech that if India takes one step towards peace, Pakistan will reciprocate with two steps.”

He went on to say that Pakistan wants peace and stability, and the government’s priority is to ensure that rapid economic development takes place.