Mike Pompeo speaks to Imran Khan ahead of visit; seeks 'decisive action' against all terrorists operating in Pakistan

Washington: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday spoke to Pakistan's new prime minister Imran Khan and sought "decisive action" against all terrorists operating in the country. The US has long been frustrated with Pakistan's overt and covert support to the Afghan Taliban and other terror groups, forcing the Trump administration to warn Islamabad and slash military aid to the country.

File image of Mike Pompeo. AP

File image of Mike Pompeo. AP

State department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement that Pompeo, in his talks with Khan, also discussed Pakistan's vital role in promoting the peace process in war-torn Afghanistan. "Secretary Michael R Pompeo spoke today with Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan and wished him success. Secretary Pompeo expressed his willingness to work with the new government towards a productive bilateral relationship," she said in the statement.

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 said. Meanwhile in Islamabad, foreign office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that "Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by the US State Department on today's phone call between prime minister Khan and secretary Pompeo". "There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan. This should be immediately corrected," Faisal said on Twitter.

The Pakistani media this week reported that Pompeo is likely to visit Islamabad in the first week of September to hold talks with newly-elected prime minister Khan. Pompeo, who is expected in Islamabad on 5 September, would be the first foreign dignitary to meet Khan, Dawn reported, quoting the diplomatic and official sources. The relations between Pakistan and the US nose-dived after president Donald Trump in January accused Islamabad of giving nothing to Washington but "lies and deceit" and providing "safe haven" to terrorists.

The US Congress also passed a bill to slash Pakistan's defence aid to $150 million, significantly below the historic level of more than $1 billion per year. In his victory speech last month, Khan said he wants a balanced relation between Pakistan and America which should be mutually beneficial, not one sided.

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Updated Date: Aug 24, 2018 08:59:54 IST

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