Obama to push Sharif for facilitating Afghan peace talks
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived here on Tuesday for talks with US President Barack Obama and other officials on a wide range of issues, including Afghanistan.
Soon after his arrival, the White House indicated the US would push Pakistani for facilitating talks between the Ashraf Ghani administration and Taliban. The process is on ice for the time being.
“One of the early rounds of reconciliation talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban was actually hosted by the Pakistani government,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
The Pakistan government recognised how important those reconciliation efforts were and US was pleased that it had stepped up efforts to facilitate constructive conversations, he told reporters.
Washington had an important security relationship with Pakistan, he said, adding the security forces had been able to coordinate efforts in a way that enhanced the national security of both countries, he said.
“Obviously there are extremist elements that have committed terrible acts of violence and terrorism inside of Pakistan. And I have on previous occasions read condolence statements on behalf of the American people to the Pakistani people because of those extremist elements,” he added.
“I cite that only to note this is a shared priority of our two countries; that this risk that we sense emanates from this broader region is a risk that Pakistan has had to deal with firsthand, and it underscores the importance of our security relationship,” Earnest concluded.
During the four-day visit, the prime minister will hold discussions with Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden and other senior administration officials.
While viewing Pakistan as a source of influence over the extremists, the US would use the trip to urge Sharif to keep pushing for a new round of Kabul-Taliban negotiations that were stalled by the disclosure of Mullah Omar’s death in late July.
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