Meeting with Mike Pence
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has met US Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
The meeting has come as an icebreaker between the two countries following President Donald Trump’s announcement of his foreign policy on South Asia on August 21.
Relations between the two countries have remained tense in the month following that announcement. In the immediate aftermath of Trump’s speech, Pakistan had asked for indefinite postponement of Acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells’ trip to Islamabad. Meanwhile, our National Security Committee has met twice with Prime Minister Abbasi in chair to deliberate and finalise Pakistan’s stance on the issue.
In the latest meeting, PM Abbasi has reiterated Pakistan’s position and highlighted contributions made by the country in the global war on terror.
Now, Pakistan has agreed to host a US delegation in October. The need of the hour is to ensure that our own house remains in order and we are appropriately prepared for this meeting well in advance. The elected and unelected institutions must be on the same page for this.
Pakistan and the US have a lot to work towards for stability and peace in the region. Pakistan’s involvement and its ties with Afghanistan as it carries out a repatriation process and its efforts against militancy are necessary points Pakistan should highlight through diplomatic channels in the coming days.
While playing the role of mediator between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the US will need to take Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s remarks about looking at Afghanistan from a different lens seriously.
Given Pakistan has had appropriate time to reassess its foreign policies, the upcoming meeting with the US should serve as the beginning of a process that repairs ties between the two countries and promotes regional peace and stability.
Daily Times, September 22, 2017
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