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Pakistan, US agree to re-engage on Afghanistan

Pakistan, US agree to re-engage on Afghanistan

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Sep 05, 2018 - 21:28

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The US and Pakistaninfo-icon on Wednesday agreed to re-engage with each other on peace in Afghanistaninfo-icon in a high-level diplomatic interaction in Islamabad, but stopped short of announcing any tangible steps for the reengagement.

"We talked about their new government, the opportunity to reset the relationship between our two countries across a broad spectrum - economic, business, and commercial," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said after meeting Pakistani political and military leaders, according to a statement from the State Department.

"The stalemate is broken today ... and it is a positive development," Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said after meeting Pompeo and General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Pompeo also met recently-elected Prime Minister Imran Khan and army chief Qamar Bajwa in his few hours stop-over in Islamabad en route to neighboring India.

Days before Pompeo's visit, the Pentagon announced to cancel 300 million US dollar aid to Pakistani military. Islamabad reacted angrily to the move.

Qureshi said the US, like Pakistan, wants a political rather than military solution in Afghanistan. "That's where I feel we have convergence of opinion and I think we can move forward on this," Qureshi said.

But Qureshi linked Pakistan's support for re-engagement on Afghanistan with US help for peace efforts between Pakistan and India, a nuclear-armed neighbour with a history of conflicts and wars.

"If we have to focus on our west (Afghanistan), we need to have an ease on our east (India)," Qureshi said.

A planned joint presser by Pompeo and Qureshi was cancelled at the last minute.

Before arriving in Islamabad, Pompeo told reporters travelling with him that: “The rationale for them (Pakistan) not getting the money is very clear. It's that we haven't seen the progress that we need to see from them".

nh/ma

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