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Friday Jul 19 2019

Trump, Imran to hold two meetings

(L) US President Donald Trump in New Orleans, Louisiana, US, January 14, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files; (R) Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, June 14, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS/Files
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WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Imran Khan will hold two meetings with US President Donald Trump, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Friday

While speaking to media here, Qureshi said Trump and Khan would have two meetings in the US capital, with the first one scheduled to be held in the Oval Office and the second one set to take place in the Cabinet Room.

The premier, the foreign minister said, would also hold discussions with a delegation of the World Bank.

Following the state-level engagements, the PM would address the Pakistani community in the US during an event in the Capital One Arena in Washington, he added.

Qureshi said the government was trying to create a conducive environment for the investors in Pakistan.

A Pakistan Business Summit was also slated to be held after the community event, wherein the Pakistani-American community, as well as other businesspersons in the US, would participate.

Khan would make an address at that event too.

The FM said Pakistan's military leadership would be accompanying the prime minister during his visit to the US.

On Pakistan's relationship with the regional players, Qureshi said the bilateral ties with Afghanistan have had their ups and downs but that they were improving.

Throughout the world, Pakistan's role in the Afghan peace process was acknowledged, he noted, adding that while an environment of trust and cooperation had bolstered between Islamabad and Kabul, it should be enhanced further.

South Asia needed peace, the minister stressed, adding that Pakistan wished for peace to prevail in Afghanistan. Peace between the two neighbouring countries was very closely tied, he added.

Qureshi noted that South Asia was behind in the race of development and that stability was required for it to progress. Pakistan wishes for stability in the region, he said.

At present, Pakistan was facing economic challenges, the FM said but added that the government was providing a conducive environment in the country for the investors. The economic corridor was not just limited to China and Pakistan was — alongside the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — also developing economic zones that may include various other nations.

Qureshi said Iran was an important regional player. Pakistan has a long border with Tehran and wanted to keep it peaceful. It was Islamabad's need, he stressed, adding that any tensions with Iran could impact Afghanistan and that a spat with Iran was not in favour of the US.

Consequently, diplomatic efforts were underway to calm down the Iran-US dispute.

As for India, the foreign minister said Islamabad made progress in Kartarpur Corridor despite New Delhi's behaviour. He further noted that all of India's requests in Kulbushan case were dismissed.

The minister said Pakistan's relationship with the US had witnessed progress. "Efforts done by our government have never been done with any other government in the past. Our solid efforts bore fruit in the US-Pakistan linkages," he stated.

Countries are big and small and Pakistan would talk with self-respect, not bargain away its interests, and keep interests at the first priority.

"Neither have we come here as a bridegroom nor do we intend to take with us the bride. I want to make it absolutely clear here, we have not come here to beg," Qureshi said, adding that the incumbent leadership had arrived in the US with a new viewpoint and honesty.

"We did not file any cases against the PML-N [Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz] or the PPP [Pakistan People's Party]. Yesterday's rivals sit today as allies.

"Today, everyone moving forward keeping in mind Pakistan's interests and challenges.

"We got the government when Pakistan was in dire straits. There was no increase in the defence budget.

The foreign minister further said: "Washington pitch is fast but Imran Khan is used to playing on fast pitches."

Whoever wanted to say anything about the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) could do so, Qureshi said but warned that people should keep the country's interests on the top priority.

He asked: "Did any of the [prior] governments raise the Kashmir issue as we did?

"Need to think with seriousness in order to resolve the Kashmir issue," he mentioned.