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Tillerson Says US Concerned About Pakistan Govt's Future

06 October 2017

Yesterday's meeting comes less than a fortnight after Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met US Vice President Mike Pence when the former was in NY to attend the UN General Assembly session.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said Pakistan and United States need to actively work to achieve common objective for durable peace in the region, Radio Pakistan reported. "That's not acceptable... We want to cooperate with the U.S. We are the direct beneficiary of peace and stability in Afghanistan", he said.

Major General Asif Ghafoor said that more than 200,000 Pakistan army personnel are deployed on western border while over 100,000 personnel on eastern border.

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Asif will also be addressing a gathering at the US Institute of Peace in Washington on US-Pakistan relations on October 5, the institute said, pointing 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".

The secretary of state added: "So, we think there is an opportunity for us to strengthen that relationship".

Pakistan on Thursday rejected recent remarks by senior USA officials that Pakistan security agencies have links with the Afghan armed groups and that there are sanctuaries of terrorists in Pakistan. Some reports also talked about the possibility of expanding drone strikes inside Pakistan to target alleged terrorist safe havens.

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Tillerson also asserted that the United States has a reliable partner in Pakistan.

After the meeting, Tillerson said Pakistan was critical to the stability of South Asia. And, these visits will be followed by visits by himself and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The foreign minister said Pakistan was not only fighting war on terror, but winning it as well. In contrast to other countries, the incidence of terrorism in Pakistan has seen a marked decline - with a salutary impact on economic and commercial activity. Pakistan's foreign minister, on his part, brought nothing to the table, at least publicly, other than the familiar laundry list of complaints and disclaimers, despite warnings from the Trump administration that it was running out of time before Washington initiating punitive action.

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Secretary Tillerson acknowledged and appreciated the sacrifices rendered by the people and armed forces of Pakistan in the struggle against terrorism. And as we rolled out the South Asia strategy, we spoke about it in a regional context.

Tillerson Says US Concerned About Pakistan Govt's Future