US, Pak to hold talks next week

Islamabad: The United States and Pakistan will hold talks in Washington D.C. next week amid the frosty ties between the two countries in recent times, according to officials.

Senior officials of Pakistan’s foreign ministry were quoted by The Nation as saying that Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua’s visit to the United States from March 6 to 8, is aimed at defusing the tensions between the two sides and finding a “common ground”.

An official said: “She will be meeting senior officials in Washington aiming at improving the Pak-US ties.”

The official added that Islamabad was ready to show its flexibility to prevent the further souring of ties with Washington D.C.

Relations between the two sides deteriorated after US President Donald Trump had mentioned in his tweet on January 1 that his country was suspending military aid to Pakistan, since it was doing little to tackle terrorism in the region.

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”, President Trump wrote on the micro-blogging site.

According to The Dawn, the US has assured Pakistan that it did not want to sever its ties with the latter. Pakistan has extended its “wholehearted support” to the US-backed Afghan offer of peace talks with the Taliban.

Janjua’s visit to the US comes after Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif had made it clear that Islamabad would not sacrifice its interest for the sake of Washington D.C.

Asif added that Pakistan would frame its foreign policy, in the national interests of the country. He also added that if the US had wanted peace in the region, then it should review its South Asian policy on terrorism and peace.

Last month, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) discussed a US-sponsored resolution to place Pakistan on the terrorist financing watch-list.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office also confirmed this week that the country would be included back in the “grey list” for terror financing after three years.

Lisa Curtis, the Senior Director for South and Central Asia at the National Security Council of the US arrived in Islamabad this week and held talks with Janjua and Pakistan Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on overall ties between the two countries.

Both sides called for the developing of sustainable peace in Afghanistan and stressed on measures needed to stop human trafficking in the region.

Curtis also visited Islamabad in October last year and met with various Pakistani officials. Both sides had agreed to the common objective of eliminating terrorism.

She held meetings with Janjua and Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. (ANI)