US stopped Coalition Support Funds not aid, says FM Qureshi

FM's media talk came after the US announced its decision to cancel $300 million fund to Pakistan


ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Sunday that the US administration did not cut off aid to Pakistan, instead it announced to end the Coalition Support Funds that the country has already spent against terrorism.

The foreign minister’s media talk came after the US announced its decision to cancel $300 million in aid to Pakistan that had been halted over what the former claims is the latter's failure to take decisive action against militants.

Qureshi said that currently Pak-US ties are suspended, adding that US Secretary of State will be visiting Pakistan soon.

Qureshi said that it is hoped that the discussion will be done in an amicable manner, strengthening the ties.

The so-called Coalition Support Funds were part of a broader suspension in aid to Pakistan announced by US President Donald Trump at the start of the year when he accused Pakistan of rewarding past assistance with “nothing but lies & deceit.”

In a new blow to deteriorating ties, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who had an opportunity to authorise the said $300 million in CSF funds through this summer — if he saw concrete Pakistani actions to go after insurgents — chose not to do so, despite some US officials having held out the possibility that Islamabad could win back that support if it changed its behaviour.

The disclosure comes ahead of an expected visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the top US military officer, General Joseph Dunford, to Islamabad. Mattis told reporters on Tuesday that combating militants would be a “primary part of the discussion”.

The Trump administration has persistently alleged that Pakistan was granting safe haven to insurgents who are waging a 17-year-old war in neighbouring Afghanistan, a charge Pakistan denies.

"The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools," Trump had tweeted at the start of this year.