WASHINGTON – Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has informed the United States that Pakistan will not accept any role of India in Afghanistan.
Talking to a current affairs programme on a private news channel regarding his recent meeting the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington, Asif stated this in the backdrop of Donald Trump’s comments regarding seeking India’s role in Afghanistan.
In August, Trump while announcing policy on South Asia had said: “We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development. We are committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in South Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region”.
The foreign minister also rebuked the allegations levelleved by the US President that Pakistan was allegedly providing safe havens to terrorists were rejected effectively.
Asif, who is in Washington on three-day tour for holding bilateral talks to normalise strained relations, hoped that both countries settle the issues jointly.
He also stressed a need of negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict through Afghan-led political approach.
The meeting with Tillersion remained fruitful, he said, adding that the US secretary of state has accepted an invitation to visit Pakistan.
Pakistan Critical for Regional Stability
Earlier, Rex Tillerson after meeting Khawaja Asif highlighted Pakistan’s importance for a durable peace in the region.
He said, “Not just Afghanistan, but it is the importance of Pakistan and Pakistan’s long-term stability as well”.
“We want Pakistan’s government to be stable, peaceful.. many of the same issues they are struggling inside Pakistan are our issues. So we think there is an opportunity to strengthen that relationship.”
Earlier in his address, Tillerson had remarked: “Our approach to South Asia, specifically Afghanistan, is building relations with India and Pakistan to stamp out terrorism and support the Afghan government in providing security for their home people.”
Meeting with US National Security Adviser
He would meet US National Security Adviser Lieutenant General HR McMaste in Washington today where both high ups would shed light on Kashmir and Afghan issues, besides discussing the US policy on South Asia.
Asif will also address a gathering at the US Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington on US-Pakistan relations on October 5.
A consensus regarding bilateral visits of Pakistani and American diplomats was surfaced during a meeting between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and US Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.