Pakistan says US statement over Khan-Pompeo call is ‘fake news’

Pakistan PM Imran Khan and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (AFP)
Updated 24 August 2018
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Pakistan says US statement over Khan-Pompeo call is ‘fake news’

  • “There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan” — Foreign Office spokesperson
  • Heather Nauert, State Department’s spokesperson said in her press briefing, on Thursday, that State Department stands by the original readout of the phone call

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson has rejected a statement made by the US State Department about the contents of a phone call between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by US State Dept on today’s phone call between PM Khan and Sec Pompeo. There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan,” Dr. Mohammad Faisal said in a tweet on Thursday.

The “factually incorrect” statement, which was released by the US State Department, said: “Secretary Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and wished him success. Secretary Pompeo expressed his willingness to work with the new government toward a productive bilateral relationship. Secretary Pompeo raised the importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists operating in Pakistan and its vital role in promoting the Afghan peace process.”

Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that there was no mention of terrorists in the telephone conversation and demanded that the US government immediately correct the “false statement.”

State Department’s spokesperson, Heather Nauert, said in her press briefing on Thursday, that State Department stands "by original readout of the phone call between Sec. Pompeo and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan."


US envoy ‘disappointed’ by collapse of inter-Afghan peace meeting

Updated 19 April 2019
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US envoy ‘disappointed’ by collapse of inter-Afghan peace meeting

  • A 250-strong delegation of Afghan politicians and civil society figures had been due to meet Taliban officials in Doha at the weekend
  • The event was abruptly canceled on Thursday amid arguments over the size and status of the group

KABUL: The US envoy for peace in Afghanistan expressed disappointment on Friday after the collapse of a planned meeting between the Taliban and a group of Afghan politicians in Qatar that exposed some of the deep divisions hampering efforts to end the war.
A 250-strong delegation of Afghan politicians and civil society figures had been due to meet Taliban officials in Doha at the weekend. The event was abruptly canceled on Thursday amid arguments over the size and status of the group, which included some government officials attending in a personal capacity.
“I’m disappointed Qatar’s intra-Afghan initiative has been delayed,” Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghan reconciliation, said on Twitter. “I urge all sides to seize the moment and put things back on track by agreeing to a participant list that speaks for all Afghans.”
The collapse of the meeting before it had even started, described as a “fiasco” by one senior Western official, laid bare the tensions that have hampered moves toward opening formal peace negotiations.
Khalilzad, a veteran Afghan-born diplomat, has held a series of meetings with Taliban representatives but the insurgents have so far refused to talk to the Western-backed government in Kabul, which they dismiss as a “puppet” regime.
The Doha meeting was intended to prepare the ground for possible future talks by building familiarity among Taliban officials and representatives of the Afghan state created after the US-led campaign that toppled the Taliban government in 2001. A similar encounter was held in Moscow in February.
President Ashraf Ghani’s office blamed Qatari authorities for the cancelation, saying they had authorized a list of participants that differed from the one proposed by Kabul, “which meant disrespect for the national will of the Afghans.”
“This act is not acceptable for the people of Afghanistan,” it said in a statement on Friday.
Sultan Barakat, director of the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies in Qatar, which had been facilitating the meeting, said there was no disagreement about the agenda.
“Rather, there is insufficient agreement around participation and representation to enable the conference to be a success,” he tweeted.
Preparations had already been undermined by disagreements on the government side about who should attend, as well as by suspicions among rival politicians ahead of presidential elections scheduled for September.
The Taliban derided the agreed list of 250 participants as a “wedding party.” Some senior opposition figures who had been included refused to attend.
The Taliban also objected to Ghani’s comments to a meeting of delegates that they would be representing the Afghan nation and the Afghan government, a statement that went against the insurgents’ refusal to deal with the Kabul administration.