Pakistani ambassador hits back at US envoy

Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi. (File photo/AFP)
Updated 04 January 2018
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Pakistani ambassador hits back at US envoy

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, has hit back at critical remarks by the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.
“We have contributed and sacrificed the most in fighting international terrorism,” Lodhi said in response to Haley saying the US would continue to withhold $255 million in assistance to Pakistan until the country became a better partner in the war on terror.
“US spokespersons should not shift the blame for their own mistakes and failures onto others,” Lodhi added.
“We can review our cooperation if it is not appreciated. Pakistan’s cooperation is not based on any consideration of aid, but on our national interests and principles.”
Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump criticized Pakistan on Twitter. This was followed by Haley’s claim that “Pakistan has played a double game for years. They work with us at times, and they also harbor the terrorists that attack our troops in Afghanistan. That game is not acceptable to this administration.”
Key Pakistani Cabinet ministers and the heads of the armed forces on Tuesday held an emergency meeting of the National Security Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
The committee said close interactions with the US since Trump’s policy announcement on South Asia had been useful in creating a better understanding of each other’s perspectives and moving forward to achieve durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.
As such, the Trump administration’s criticisms “were completely incomprehensible as they contradicted facts,” and were made “with great insensitivity,” the committee said.
The US criticisms “negated the decades of sacrifices” made by Pakistan, which “has contributed so significantly to regional and global security and peace,” the committee added.


'Brexit continues to mean Brexit': Theresa May defiant despite Westminster resistance

Updated 18 July 2018
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'Brexit continues to mean Brexit': Theresa May defiant despite Westminster resistance

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday her government had begun negotiations with the European Union
  • May also said talks had already started with Brussels based on the proposal set down in a white paper policy document last week

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday her government had begun negotiations with the European Union based on her hard-won Brexit plan, pressing on with a proposal criticized by both wings of her Conservative Party.
After narrowly escaping defeat in parliament over her plans for leaving the EU, May signalled she would not drop a proposal on Britain’s future relationship with bloc — the biggest shift in its foreign and trade policy for almost half a century.
But by sticking to her plan for a “business-friendly” departure, May has thrown down the gauntlet to Brexit supporters and pro-EU lawmakers in her party who are at war with each other, and — for some — with the prime minister herself.
Boris Johnson, her former foreign minister who quit over what is called the Chequers plan, was one of the first to renew his call for government to rethink its strategy, saying “it is not too late to save Brexit.”
But at an earlier session of parliament, May stood firm after being challenged by one pro-Brexit lawmaker in her party to explain when she had decided to change her catchphrase from “Brexit means Brexit,” to “Brexit means Remain.”
“Brexit continues to mean Brexit,” May said to cheers from her Conservative supporters.
May also said talks had already started with Brussels based on the proposal set down in a white paper policy document last week after her divided government had thrashed out a deal at her Chequers country residence.
The prime minister insisted she was confident Britain had enough time to negotiate a deal with the EU before leaving in March next year.
While May’s party is in disarray over the plan, EU member Ireland also said it was focusing on the white paper, unwilling to be diverted over the changes to her Brexit plans forced through in parliament this week.
“If we get distracted by individual amendments to individual pieces of legislation ... then I think we get dragged into an unnecessary debate that wastes a lot of time and energy,” Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told state broadcaster RTE.

"WE CAN CHANGE"
May’s vulnerability in parliament, where she lost her majority in an ill-judged election last year, was laid bare on Monday and Tuesday when she faced rebellions from both the pro-Brexit and pro-EU wings of her party.
She won the votes on a customs and a trade bill, but suffered an unexpected defeat on a separate amendment, which means her government must now seek continued participation in the European medicines regulatory framework.
But the government’s approach to securing victory in parliament has not only deepened divisions in her party, but also raised the issue of trust.
One Conservative lawmaker told Reuters the party whips, whose job it is to enforce discipline in parliament, had threatened to call a confidence vote in May if she lost — a move that could bring down the government.
Johnson, figurehead of the Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum, led those calls in his resignation speech to parliament. He criticized the government for handing an advantage to the EU by agreeing in the talks to a divorce bill before agreeing a future relationship.
“We have time in these negotiations, we have changed tack once and we can change again,” he said. “It is as though a fog of self-doubt has descended,” Johnson said. “We should not and need not be stampeded by anyone.”