PM stresses importance of further strengthening Pak-US ties

by Garry Watts August 26, 2018, 0:12
PM stresses importance of further strengthening Pak-US ties

Pakistan has disputed Washington's account of a phone call between new Prime Minister Imran Khan and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, denying that there was any discussion on militants operating in Pakistan.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi made the statement at a news conference in Islamabad, a day after Pompeo's first conversation with Khan.

However, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert indicated there would be no correction in response to Pakistan's complaint.

In one of the initial moves after becoming the Prime Minister, Imran Khan said that his government will support any positive steps to improve relations with India.

"The statement issued by the State Department was contrary to the facts", Qureshi said. "Secretary Pompeo raised the importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists operating in Pakistan and its vital role in promoting the Afghan peace process", she added in the statement.

As the diplomatic row is underway between Pakistan and the USA with the two countries disagreeing about whether State Secretay Mike Pompeo and Prime Minister Imran Khan held discussion over terrorism in a telephonic conversation, Washington has refused to withdraw from its original readout of the phone call.

Downplaying the controversy, Qureshi said that the conversation between the secretary of state and the prime minister was "very good".

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan are seen in a combination of file photos.

However, Pakistan's Foreign Office described the State Department's press release as "factually incorrect".

It was decided that the Prime Minister would use the official aircraft only for domestic tours and not for foreign visits.

According to reports, the newly constituted Imran Khan's cabinet during its second meeting banned the discretionary use of state funds of the Prime Minister, federal ministers, members of the National assembly.

Relations between the US and Pakistan have deteriorated since US President Donald Trump's administration began taking a hard line on Afghanistan a year ago.

With respect to Afghanistan, both the leaders agreed that peace is a priority for the two countries.

"We don't want to land on the FATF's black list because it would have a negative impact on Pakistan", he said.

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