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.


Divided UN council heads to Sweden for farmhouse retreat

Updated 19 April 2018
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Divided UN council heads to Sweden for farmhouse retreat

  • 15 ambassadors will join Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the secluded getaway in a country setting.
  • The three-day retreat will begin on Friday.

United Nations, United States: After a week of bitter acrimony over Syria, UN Security Council ambassadors are heading to a farmhouse in southern Sweden for a retreat to try to break the deadlock over how to end the war.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley and her Russian counterpart Vassily Nebenzia will be among the 15 ambassadors joining Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the secluded getaway in a country setting.
The three-day retreat beginning Friday comes after one of the council’s most divisive periods, with the United States and Russia split over the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma that lead to military action by Washington and its allies against Syria.
The council met five times on Syria last week including on Tuesday when Russia vetoed a US-drafted resolution setting up a chemical weapons probe while two other proposed measures failed to pass.
The Russia-US rivalry prompted Guterres to declare that the Cold War was “back with a vengeance.”
Asked whether he expected awkward moments during the Swedish retreat, Nebenzia told reporters: “I will see how they feel about dealing with me after all that happened.”
“It’s not news to anyone that the council is divided on Syria,” said Sweden’s Deputy UN Ambassador Carl Skau. “There is some need for humility and patience at this moment.”
The council will be staying at Backakra, the summer residence of Dag Hammarskjold, who was the United Nations’ second secretary-general.
The residence located on the southern tip of Sweden, far from Stockholm, is a “fitting and inspiring venue” to reconnect with the power of diplomacy, said Skau.
“It’s a place to roll up our sleeves, take off our jackets and ties and come up with some real and meaningful ways forward,” he said.
The annual brainstorming session usually takes place in upstate New York, but Sweden, which is a non-permanent council member, offered to host this year’s gathering.
Guterres had told council members that the focus of the meeting would be his plan for a “surge of diplomacy” to address conflicts worldwide, but the council’s deadlock over Syria is emerging as the top priority.