KARACHI/NEW DELHI: The United States called for further development of confidence and trust with Pakistan, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday evening in what comes as his first statement abroad about his visit to Islamabad.
Pompeo noted that “it was time to need to begin to build confidence and trust between our two countries” — a sentiment echoed by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi the prior day when he commented on how the ‘ice’ from the unbelievably cold bilateral relations had melted paving way for discussion between the two strategic partners to recommence.
“In Pakistan, yesterday, we agreed that it is time to start delivering on our joint commitments,” the State Secretary said.
“There was a broad agreement between myself, Foreign Minister Qureshi, and Prime Minister [Imran] Khan that we need to take steps that will deliver outcomes on the ground.”
Pompeo also reiterated the same sentiment he had expressed on Wednesday before departing to New Delhi from Nur Khan Airbase in Rawalpindi’s Chaklala town.
“We’ve had lots of times where we’ve talked and made agreements, but we haven’t been able to actually execute those. […] We need to begin to do things that will begin to actually, on the ground, deliver outcomes so that we can begin to build confidence and trust between the two countries,” he had said.
Pompeo, who was speaking to journalists in Chaklala alongside General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, had seemed satisfied about his visit to Islamabad, where he met Khan, Qureshi, and Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, among other top-level officials.
Further, he had mentioned that his trip succeeded in facilitating a chance to “reset” the bilateral relations now that the new government, led by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has come into power.
Time ‘to deliver on our joint commitments’: Pompeo before leaving for India
‘Reset’ bilateral ties
“We talked about their new government, the opportunity to reset the relationship between our two countries across a broad spectrum — economic and business and commercial,” Pompeo explained, adding that Washington desired improved ties in all aspects.
Following the fresh developments in the region, the United States is now set on resolving the Afghan conflict through a political solution — with talks — and not a military one, the State Secretary had said, adding that Washington also hopes that Islamabad would play an active role in its attempt to do so.
Earlier, US President Donald Trump had indicated that the US should pull out of its more-than-a-decade-long involvement in Kabul. In this regard, Pompeo said the two countries “need to do to try and develop a peaceful resolution in Afghanistan, which benefits certainly Afghanistan but also the United States and Pakistan.
“And I’m hopeful that the foundation that we laid today will set the conditions for continued success as we start to move forward,” he had said.
Gen Dunford, who said he was accompanying Pompeo to help in the effort of resetting the US-Pakistan relations and had “talked to General Bajwa on the military-to-military level”, mentioned that the leadership in Islamabad had agreed that it was time to work on the mutual assurances given to each other.
“Their objectives were very consistent between the Secretary and the prime minister,” the top US military official had commented.
“General Bajwa and I agreed that we will leverage the military-to-military relationship to support the Secretary and the prime minister, and more importantly, President Trump’s South Asia strategy,” he had added.