ISLAMABAD – Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif headed to US on a three-day tour on Tuesday where he is expected to meet US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to resume bilateral talks and normalise ties between the two countries.
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Besides the crucial huddle with American bigwigs, Asif will also address a gathering at the US Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington on US-Pakistan relations on October 5.
The USIP pointed out that Trump’s speech had not only “unsettled US-Pakistan relations” but also had “serious implications for US interests in Afghanistan, nuclear non-proliferation, and stability in the region”.
In the first high-profile meeting between US and Pakistani officials after Trump’s new Afgha policy announcement, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met US Vice President Mike Pence where the latter suggested sending a US delegation to Islamabad for talks aimed at removing tensions.
Pakistan accepted the proposal but asked for a high-level meeting in Washington for detente.
In response, Washington had reportedly invited Asif for a meeting with Secretary Tillerson on October 4.
Donald Trump’s speech in which he highlighted the policy shift for South-Asia and particularly Afghanistan was perceived in bad taste by Pakistani officials as the president had accused Islamabad of providing safe havens to militants.
Pakistan rubbished the claims and asked the world to do more as the country had suffered a lot at the hands of extremism.
Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has also returned from Kabul and is chairing special corps commander conference today (Tuesday) at the General Headquarters.