Govt to ‘bury’ Imran-Pompeo talk issue

2018-08-29T02:45:35+05:00 SHAFQAT ALI

ISLAMABAD - The United States has sent the transcript of the telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pakistan which clearly shows what was discussed during the talks, diplomatic sources said on Tuesday.

The sources told The Nation that the transcript had ‘embarrassed’ the government who had challenged the contents released by the US State Department.

The statement issued by the State Department had said: “Secretary Pompeo raised the importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists operating in Pakistan and its vital role in promoting the Afghan peace process.”

Pakistan rejected the statement as ‘factually incorrect’ and urged the US not to twist the facts. The US is yet to issue an official clarification and Washington also did not change or withdraw the State Department release.

The US, however, sent the transcript to Pakistan to ‘satisfy’ Islamabad that the State department’s release was not ‘incorrect’, the sources said. The US has not sent any comment with the transcript, the sources added.

Senior officials at the Foreign Ministry told The Nation that Islamabad had decided not to take the issue further and bury it ahead of Pompeo’s September 5 visit.

One official said: “Now, we don’t want to create more misunderstandings as we already have trust issues with the US. Raising this issue further could mean more misunderstandings.”

Another official said: “The Foreign Ministry had proposed that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi should speak to Mike Pompeo as contacting the PM directly was a violation of the diplomatic protocol. But we are asked to allow Mike Pompeo to talk to the PM. Leave the transcript aside, we were hoping that they will not release the details and keep it to congratulatory call.”

Qureshi earlier said the US State Department’s statement after Pompeo’s telephone call to Imran Khan was ‘contrary to the facts.’ He made it clear that Pakistan's foreign policy front will not be apologetic.

Pak-US ties have been frosty for several months. In January, the US suspended security assistance to Pakistan targeting the Coalition Support Fund. State Department said the US was suspending ‘security assistance’ to Pakistan as the trust level between the two countries drastically declined. Washington said Pakistan will be able to receive the suspended funding if it took ‘decisive actions’ against the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban.

Pakistan claimed it fought the war against terrorism largely from its own resources “which has cost over $120 billion in 15 years.” Pakistan said the money it had received from the US was mainly reimbursements for supporting US-led coalition forces after they invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

The two countries also imposed tit-for-tat travel restrictions on each other’s diplomats in May - suggesting a new low in their troubled ties.

Yesterday, Foreign Minister Qureshi said that Pakistan desired to improve bilateral relations with the US.

Speaking in the Senate, after PPP leader Raza Rabbani sought reply on the telephonic conversation held between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Mike Pompeo, the minister insisted that the handout of the US State Department regarding telephonic conservation was ‘contrary to the facts.’

The minister said ‘weightage’ will be given to the opinion of people and its elected representatives while taking forward relations with Washington.

He said the conservation between Imran Khan and Pompeo was cordial and constructive. He said that the news release issued by Pakistan on the conservation was ‘based on facts.’

 BAHRAIN FM CALLS ON QURESHI

 Yesterday, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, the Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, called on Shah Mehmood Qureshi to congratulate him on the election victory of his party and assuming the office of the Foreign Minister.

He expressed his keen desire to work with the Foreign Minister for further solidifying the existing bonds of friendship between Pakistan and Bahrain, said a foreign ministry statement.

The Foreign Minister warmly reciprocated the sentiments expressed by Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and underlined the importance attached by Pakistan to its relations with the Kingdom.

The Foreign Minister congratulated his Bahraini counterpart on achieving Tier 1 status on Anti Human Trafficking efforts.

He remarked that it was not a small achievement and made the entire Muslim world proud. He expressed gratitude for King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa’s generous gift of King Hamad University in Islamabad, saying it would serve as a strong bridge of friendship between Pakistan and Bahrain.

The two foreign Ministers agreed to interact more closely, to reinvigorate economic, commercial, trade and investment relations between Pakistan and Bahrain, to boost the current level of bilateral trade - $ 310 million.

They also agreed to revive institutional mechanisms of Joint Ministerial Commission and Bilateral Political Consultations between the two countries, to explore fresh avenues of enhancing bilateral cooperation.

Qureshi thanked Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, for hosting more than 100,000 Pakistani workers, who treated Bahrain as their second home.

While highlighting his government’s priority to serve Pakistani Diaspora abroad, he expressed concern over the reports of visa suspension for Pakistani nationals by the Kingdom. Pledging unwavering support to the government of Bahrain in ensuring peace and security of its citizens, he expressed the hope that visa restrictions and strict security measures against Pakistanis living in the Kingdom would be eased, to help them live with dignity and honour.

Later, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan also called on the Foreign Minister. During the meeting, discussions focused on matters related to Pakistan's Security and Foreign Policy, said a statement released by the foreign ministry.

The minister and Air Chief also discussed the current strategic environment including the regional and International situation and the security challenges facing the country, the statement said.

 

Govt to ‘bury’ Imran-Pompeo talk issue

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