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January 23, 2020

Trump assures Imran Khan of visiting Pakistan soon

Top Story

January 23, 2020

ISLAMABAD: In his hour long meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of World Economic Forum in Davos, President Trump has assured Khan that he will soon visit Pakistan and offered to play a role to work on Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir dispute and ease tensions between Pakistan and India.

However, there was no hint of when this visit would be possible. The announcement came from Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi soon after the two leaders had met along with their delegations. Earlier on Tuesday, before the start of the bilateral meeting, a reporter asked Trump if he would be visiting Pakistan during his forthcoming visit to India (in February), Trump said he will not as he was meeting Khan in Davos. “Well, we’re visiting right now (with Khan), so we won’t really have to. But we — I wanted to say hello for both a relationship standpoint — we’ve had a great relationship — and from the standpoint of our two countries,” Trump said. He added, “We’re getting along very well. I would say we’ve never been closer with Pakistan than we are right now”. But now it appears Trump has changed his mind after Khan once again invited him during the meeting. "I was present at the meeting between PM Imran and US President Trump. It lasted for one hour and was very productive. The meeting was held in a cordial manner and a full US delegation was present”, Qureshi said in a statement put out by the Foreign Office.

Earlier in July last year, Trump had accepted an invitation from Khan during his visit to Washington. "PM Imran raised all important issues before the US President, including a request to support Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force and improving the travel advisory the US issues for Pakistan," Qureshi was quoted as saying by the Foreign Office. The minister also tweeted saying it was a ‘good meeting’ between Khan and Trump. “We discussed ways to strengthen Pakistan-US bilateral relationship with special focus on trade and investments. Prime Minister highlighted the grave and deteriorating situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the need for sustained US role to help resolve the issue without which peace in South Asia is elusive. President Trump offered to play a role to work on IOK dispute and ease tension between Pakistan and India”, tweeted Qureshi. Trump agreed, said the Minister, that the "Kashmir dispute should have a solution".

Pakistan and the US also deliberated on Afghanistan during the hour-long meeting and the Foreign Minister said, “The Prime Minister shared Pakistan's perspective on Afghan peace and reconciliation process, as well as Pakistan’s efforts for de-escalation in the Middle East region. PM Khan reiterated all sides should exercise maximum restraint and that diplomacy is the way forward to permanent peace”. Qureshi also pointed to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which was discussed with President Trump in which Pakistan once again asked for US support to get off the Grey list. With peace and security once again returning to Pakistan, Trump was asked for ‘improvements’ in the US travel advisory to Pakistan. The two sides also talked about Pak-US trade and investment where some progress appears to have been made as the foreign minister pointed out that the US President had agreed that a trade delegation from the US would visit Pakistan soon, though no dates were announced.

Later Qureshi and his British counterpart British Foreign Secretary Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab held a telephonic conversation in which Britain appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to support defusing tensions and secure peace and security in the region. “He also highlighted the positive trajectory of Pak-UK relations and expressed hope that these will continue to strengthen in the years ahead”, the Foreign Office said adding that a wide range of regional and bilateral issues of mutual interest were discussed.

Qureshi briefed the British Foreign Secretary on the evolving security situation of the region and shared Pakistan’s concerns with regard to the latest developments in the Middle East and the Gulf region, which carried serious implications for peace and security as well as the world economy. “The foreign minister emphasized the importance of maximum restraint and steps for de-escalation by all sides. He also apprised of Pakistan’s efforts to defuse tensions in the region through active diplomatic engagement with relevant parties”, read the FO statement.

Qureshi also highlighted grave human rights and humanitarian situation in IOK and urged the UK to play its role in a peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. He also briefed his British counterpart on Pakistan’s efforts in the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

“The two foreign ministers agreed to continue to work together to strengthen bilateral cooperation and to ensure peace and security of the region,” added the statement.