Relations with Pakistan ‘very good’: Trump

March 22,2019

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WASHINGTON: Relations between the US and Pakistan are "very good," President Donald Trump said Wednesday.

The brief remarks came as Trump prepared to depart the White House for Ohio, where he is set to visit a tank factory and meet with supporters.

Trump said his administration will soon be meeting with Pakistani officials.

US-Pakistani relations had taken a turn for the worse in recent years, with the US announcing a $300 million cut in military aid to Pakistan in 2018.

Trump attacked Pakistan on Twitter in November, saying it was not doing enough to stop terrorism.

Meanwhile, a senior US administration official said Wednesday the US remains concerned about India-Pakistan tensions as the

nuclear-armed countries’ militaries remain on alert nearly three weeks after their most dangerous confrontation in decades.

The official also indicated that the Trump administration does not think Pakistan has adequately cracked down on the Islamist extremists who claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on Indian security forces that triggered last month’s crisis.

“If there is an additional terrorist attack without Pakistan having made a sustained sincere effort against these groups, it will be extremely problematic for Pakistan and it would cause a re-escalation in tensions,” the official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, was cited as saying by foreign media.

The official said that during the height of the crisis — February 26-28 — the United States was in continuous contact with Indian and Pakistani officials, both on the ground in New Delhi and Islamabad.

“They were working the phones continuously and were deeply engaged in seeking to deescalate what was a very dangerous moment in India-Pakistan relations,” the official said.

The US also reached out to influential countries to have them help deescalate the situation, the senior administration official said.

Some of these countries are China, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan and Australia.

“We do still see the militaries on alert and so we realize if there, God forbid, would be another terrorist attack, then you could quickly see escalation in the situation once again,” the official said. “We are making clear that any additional military action by either side runs an unacceptably high risk for both countries and for the region.”

The US official, however, did not mention the steps Pakistan has already taken or those that are under way to control proscribed organisations accused by India. Despite the fact that Prime Minister Imran Khan offered India talks on the terrorism issue besides asking New Delhi to provide actionable intelligence to enable his government prosecute the accused, India has done little so far. Indian state repression continues in Held Kashmir and even pro-India Kashmiri political elite like former chief ministers — Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mahbooba Mufti — have been advising New Delhi since long to engage Kashmiris and Pakistan in dialogue.


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