Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday said that Islamabad is striving to improve its bilateral relationship with Washington, ahead of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s scheduled visit to the country next month.

While speaking at the Senate here, Qureshi asserted that Pakistan is trying to steer the bilateral ties with the US towards betterment, adding that it is the right time to move on, the Dawn reported.

Commenting on the US statement, wherein Pompeo had said that Washington had sought ‘decisive action’ against terrorists operating from Pakistan during his telephonic conversation with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan last week, Qureshi reiterated that the statement was “contrary to the reality”.

“The telephone conversation… much to the surprise of many, was very cordial, very engaging and very constructive in nature,” Qureshi said.

A diplomatic tussle had broken out between the two countries when US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, in a statement on August 24, confirmed that the issue of terrorism was raised by Pompeo and asserted that Washington stood by its readout.

Her comments came after Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had dismissed the statement and said that Pompeo did not raise the issue of terrorism with Khan.

Reacting to the same, Qureshi had claimed that the US statement was “factually incorrect” while terming the relations between Islamabad and Washington as “vital.”

The Pakistani Foreign Minister had continued that he would seek the opinions and guidance from the elected representatives to formulate the country’s foreign policy. “On issues of foreign policy, I think we have to be above partisan interest,” Qureshi further said.

Pompeo is scheduled to visit Pakistan on September 5 and will hold discussions of mutual interests with Khan. He is expected to deliberate on efforts to revive the strained relations between Washington and Islamabad and ask for Pakistan’s support and cooperation to re-start the US-led Afghan peace process.