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Talks between US state department, Pakistan foreign secretary over Afghanistan, regional stability end without breakthrough

Islamabad: A top US state department official visited Pakistan to review the progress made by Islamabad on regional security and stability and met Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and other senior officials, but the meeting ended without any breakthrough, according to a media report in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The US Department of State's Senior Bureau Official for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs ambassador Alice Wells visited Islamabad for meetings with Foreign Secretary (Tehmina) Janjua and other senior officials, a statement, issued late on Tuesday, by the US Embassy in Islamabad said.

"In her meetings, she discussed the status of the United States' South Asia strategy and efforts to make progress on regional security and stability," it added.

Wells was on a day-long trip to Islamabad to continue her talks in the wake of President Donald Trump's new South Asia and Afghanistan policy, in particular Pakistan's commitment in the war against terrorism.

 Talks between US state department, Pakistan foreign secretary over Afghanistan, regional stability end without breakthrough

Representational image. Reuters

In Washington, a State Department Spokesperson told PTI, "The purpose of Ambassador Wells' visit was to discuss the relationship between the United States and Pakistan, which is based on a broad range of shared interests, including a commitment to defeat all terrorist groups that threaten regional stability and security, and a desire to build economic and commercial ties that benefit both countries."

This is a follow on of Ambassador Wells' visit there in March as part of its ongoing dialogue on the bilateral relationship and Pakistani support for our South Asia strategy, the spokesperson said.

Pakistan's Foreign Office (FO) spokeperson, Mohammad Faisal only shared a picture of Janjua receiving Wells on the micro-blogging site 'twitter', but did not share any details of the meeting.

The two sides failed to make any headway, instead some new issues cropped up during the meeting which may further complicate the already strained US-Pak ties, the report said.

The another round of Pakistan-US talks aimed at getting Islamabad to fulfil Washington's expectations, envisioned in its South Asia and Afghanistan policy, ended without any breakthrough, Dawn reported.

Quoting a diplomatic source, it said that the agenda of both sides at the meeting at the FO were same as before, with the addition of two new issues — the restrictions on Pakistani diplomats that would come into effect from 1 May and a traffic accident involving US defence attaché Col Joseph Hall, who had earlier in April jumped a red light her and hit a motorcyclist, who later died.

Pakistan has demanded waiver of the diplomatic immunity to Hall, so that he could be prosecuted.

"There was no forward movement. But at the same time we must acknowledge that both sides continue to remain engaged in search of the elusive common ground," the source said.

The US' Afghan strategy has soured the ties between the two countries after they openly traded barbs over deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

The US has been demanding Islamabad to use its influence to bring Taliban to negotiating table and but the latter said that it has only limited control of rebels who now have areas in Afghanistan to live and operate without any foreign assistance.

This was ambassador Wells' second trip in less than a month after her last visit to Islamabad between 28 March and 3 April.

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Updated Date: Apr 25, 2018 08:02:16 IST