Pak FS Janjua to visit US to reset bilateral ties: reports

Islamabad: Pakistan and the US will try to reset their relations this week during the visit of Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua to Washington, media reports said today, days after a top aide of the US President pressed Islamabad to rein-in terror groups operating from its soil.

Foreign Secretary Janjua’s two-day visit to Washington from tomorrow comes after US Deputy Assistant to President Donald Trump and National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for South and Central Asia Lisa Curtis’ surprise visit to Islamabad last week.

During the visit, Janjua, the first woman foreign secretary of Pakistan, will meet senior US State Department officials, Pakistani media reported.

Dawn newspaper, quoting official sources reported that Janjua will have a series of meetings both at the White House and the State Department and will also address think-tank experts at the US Institute of Peace during her stay in Washington.

At the White House, Janjua is likely to have another meeting with Curtis, it said.

The two met in Islamabad last week during the US official’s visit to the Pakistani capital, soon after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at its plenary meeting in Paris placed Pakistan on a watch list of countries where terrorist outfits are still allowed to raise funds.

During her meetings with senior civil and military officials in Islamabad, Curtis had expressed the desire to “move toward a new relationship” with Pakistan, based on a shared commitment to defeat all terrorist groups that threaten regional stability and security.

Curtis had also sought the defeat of ISIS in South Asia; and the elimination of terrorist groups that threaten both Pakistan and the United States.

She had urged the government of Pakistan to address the continuing presence of the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups within its territory, and reiterated the international community’s long-standing concern about ongoing deficiencies in Pakistan’s implementation of its anti-money laundering/ counter-terrorism finance regime, the US embassy here had said in a statement.

Last week, the Pentagon also said that the US expects Pakistan to do more to combat terrorism.

“With respect to Pakistan we believe that Pakistan can do more to combat terrorism,” Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana W. White said at a news briefing in Washington.

“This is an inflection point and this is an opportunity and Pakistan has an opportunity to do more,” she said, while acknowledging that the country has been a victim of terrorism.

“So, we’ll look forward to continuing to work with them to see where there are opportunities,” she said.

While while announcing his new Afghanistan and South Asia policy in August last year, President Trump had said the US can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond.

Trump had sought a major role for India in bringing peace in war-torn Afghanistan, a move criticised by Islamabad.


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