WASHINGTON: The United States has admitted its relations with Pakistan are 'quite complicated' but are also very important.

Comments by State House Press Secretary Josh Earnest came amid debate over the Wednesday’s phone talk between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US President-elect Donald Trump.

“The US relationship with Pakistan is one that's quite complicated, particularly when you consider our overlapping national security interests. The relations between our two countries, particularly over the last eight years, have not been smooth -- consistently smooth, particularly in the aftermath of the raid on Pakistani soil that President Obama ordered to take Osama Bin Laden off the battlefield,” Josh Earnest said at his briefing.

“But this obviously is an important relationship. There have been areas where the United States and Pakistan have been able to effectively coordinate our efforts,” he said.

When asked about Donald Trump’s reported remarks that he'd like to visit Pakistan but President Obama has never visited Pakistan, the spokesman recalled President Obama expressing a desire to travel to Pakistan.

“For a variety of reasons, some of them relating to the complicated relationship between our two countries at certain times over the last eight years, President Obama was not able to realize that ambition.”

“But one thing we do know is that it sends a powerful message to the people of a country when the President of the United States goes to visit. And that's true whether it's some of our closest allies, or that's also true if it's a country like Pakistan, with whom our relationship is somewhat more complicated. But ultimately, when President Trump begins planning his overseas travel, he'll have a range of places to consider, and Pakistan would certainly be one of them,” the spokesman added.

To a question about Nawaz-Trump phone talk, Earnest evaded comments and said, “I just don’t have a lot of insight into either of those things.”

“I can't speak to the accuracy or to the tone of that phone call. I'd refer you to the President-elect's team for more of a description of what the President-elect may have communicated to the Prime Minister of Pakistan,” he said.