US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is arriving in Pakistan on a one day visit today (September 5).
He is likely to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan. It is the first official visit of any senior US official after Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf formed the government in Islamabad.
Pompeo will meet his Pakistani counterpart Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi as well as senior military officials.
Later, delegation level talks will be held at the Foreign Office.
US secretary of state said he would emphasize in meetings in Islamabad that Pakistan needed to help with ending the Afghan conflict, America’s longest war.
“We need Pakistan to seriously engage to help us get to the reconciliation we need in Afghanistan,” said Pompeo. “The very reason for this trip is to try to articulate what it is our expectation is, the things that they can do, the things that they expect us to do, and see if we can’t find a path forward together.”
The United States Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford is also accompanying Secretary Pompeo on his Pakistan visit.
Secretary Pompeo will go to India after his Pakistan visit.
The Trump Administration has been at loggerheads with Pakistan after the American president’s tweet, accusing Pakistan of sheltering terrorists, which Pakistan denies.
Pakistan’s new government is looking to improve its ties with the Trump administration and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has signaled his willingness to resume talks over critical issues.
“We have to understand the needs of Americans in Afghanistan if we want to improve ties with the US,” Qureshi told reporters on August 24.
Qureshi said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s upcoming visit is an opportunity to discuss various bilateral issues and shared objectives.
Zalmay Khalilzad to become US adviser on Afghanistan
Former US Ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad will join the State Department as an adviser on Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday as he headed to Pakistan to discuss Islamabad’s role in helping to end the Afghan conflict.
“Ambassador Khalilzad is going to join the State Department team to assist us in the reconciliation effort, so he will come on and be the State Department’s lead person for that purpose,” Pompeo told US pool reporters traveling with him.
Will Imran Khan meet US Security?
There has been an increasing pressure on Imran Khan from the opposition not to meet the visiting secretary after the US has cancelled $300 million in aid to Pakistan.
The Coalition Support Funds were part of a broader suspension in aid to Pakistan announced by President Donald Trump at the start of the year, when he accused Pakistan of rewarding past assistance with “nothing but lies and deceit.”
“Secretary Pompeo’s meeting with the premier is against protocol. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi should meet him instead,” former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani said while talking to the media on Monday.
He said that this is the second time the US has suspended funds meant to repay Pakistan for money spent on the war against terror. “Pakistan is not taking any aid from the US,” said Senator Rabbani. The suspension could freeze up to $1.3 billion, although the US hasn’t specified the exact amount.