Thursday Aug 30, 2018
WASHINGTON: US Defence Secretary James Mattis has confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Joseph Dunford will visit Pakistan next week to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Speaking at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Wednesday, Mattis said Pompeo and General Dunford will meet with PM Imran and other Pakistani leaders and discuss relations between the two countries.
The two dignitaries are expected in Islamabad for a one-day visit on September 5.
Pak-US relations have taken a backtrack after the Pakistan Foreign Office rejected a statement by the US State Department regarding the contents of a phone call between Pompeo and PM Imran Khan last week.
“Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by US State Dept on today’s phone call between PM Khan & Sec Pompeo. There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan,” FO spokesperson Dr Faisal tweeted.
He also asked the US to “immediately correct” the statement.
The US State Department, however, indicated there would be no correction in response to Pakistan’s complaint.
PM Imran is well known for his criticism of US military policy in Afghanistan, but he said after winning elections that he seeks better relations with the United States after a series of aid cuts and the suspension of US military training.