Saturday, 21 April, 2018

U.S. defense chief calls for deepening anti-terror cooperation with Pakistan

Hope from debris: Why Pakistan wants to replace ally US with China, Russia Foreign policy: Asif hints at inclining towards China, Russia instead of US
Sammy Stanley | 07 December, 2017, 01:24

While telling Defence Secretary James Mattis that enough is enough, Pakistan had told the visiting dignitary that its hands were tied up in the fight against terrorism and would no more accept the oft-repeated mantra of "do more" against alleged safe havens in the country, Roznama Express has learnt.

Citing the U.S. war in Afghanistan has taken a big toll on Pakistan, Asif said stability in the region is key to prosperity.

"He agreed with Secretary Mattis that both Pakistan and the US have common stakes in securing peace and security in Afghanistan for the long term stability of the broader region", the statement further said.

"We're committed (to) the war against terror", he said.

"The COAS [chief of army staff] took the forum on board about his military diplomacy through his recent visits overseas and interaction with foreign dignitaries visiting Pakistan", said a statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The biggest stakeholder of peace in the region after Afghanistan is Pakistan.

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During meeting with the U.S. defence chief, it was decided that the dialogue process between the two countries would continue through diplomatic contacts.

A day before the Mattis arrived in Islamabad, Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo had warned Pakistan that if it does not eliminate the alleged safe havens inside its territory, the United States would do "everything we can" to destroy them.

En route to Pakistan Mattis told reporters he would not use pressure as a tactic, and insisted he would do "some listening". "I believe that we work hard on finding the common ground, and then we work together, so that's the approach I want to take".

"We would like to have a good relationship with the Indians".

On Indian claims that Pakistan was "obsessed" with it, Asif said, "It is not an obsession".

Mattis' brief visit to Islamabad comes a week after a hardline Pakistani Islamist group called off nationwide protests after the government met its demand that a minister accused of blasphemy resign.

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