Pakistan stresses structured framework for dialogue with US

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the US State Department in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 04 October 2018
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Pakistan stresses structured framework for dialogue with US

  • Pakistan’s top diplomat held a series of meetings in Washington to rebuild engagements and to stay engaged for the stability of the region
  • Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s long-held position that there was no military solution to the situation in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo at the State Department on Tuesday for wide-ranging talks on bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest.

Pakistan’s top diplomat held a series of meetings in Washington to rebuild engagements and to stay engaged for the stability of the region.

“He (Qureshi) stressed that, going forward, a broad-based and structured framework for dialogue would best serve the two countries’ shared interests,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday while sharing the details of the meeting.

The foreign minister in a meeting said that Pakistan and the US shared a common desire for peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region at large.

“He reiterated Pakistan’s support for a political settlement in Afghanistan, noting that the use of force had failed to deliver results,” the statement said.

It added: “Both sides agreed that the time was ripe for the Afghan Taliban to avail themselves of  the opportunity for a political settlement by seizing the opportunity for dialogue.”

The foreign minister was assisted by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Ali Jehangir Siddiqui.

Qureshi, who is paying an official visit to Washington at Secretary Pompeo’s invitation, said that close engagement between Pakistan and the US had always been mutually beneficial and a factor for stability in South Asia.

While welcoming the foreign minister to the State Department, Secretary Pompeo said the US looked forward to working with the new government of Pakistan in implementing its reform agenda, the foreign minister confirmed.

Secretary Pompeo appreciated Pakistan’s support for political reconciliation in Afghanistan and its efforts for peace in the neighborhood, the Foreign Ministry said.

Qureshi also met US National Security Adviser John Bolton at the White House on Tuesday.

The two officials discussed Pakistan-US bilateral relations and the regional situation in South Asia, including the efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to the Afghan situation, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said.

Sharing Pakistan’s perspective, Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s long-held position that there was no military solution to the situation in Afghanistan.

In a meeting with Bolton, Qureshi underlined that the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) provided the most effective mechanism to promote mutually beneficial cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In the context of achieving stability in South Asia, Qureshi briefed his US interlocutor about India’s aggressive posturing in the region.

“After initially agreeing to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s peace initiative, the Government in India caved in to internal politics,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement that added: “FM Qureshi underscored that, on its part, Pakistan remained committed to engaging India in a comprehensive peace dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

“The two leaders agreed that continued Pakistan-US cooperation will be in the interest of regional peace and security in South Asia,” the Foreign Office statement said.


Trump briefed on missile strike in Saudi Arabia: White House

Updated 4 min 18 sec ago
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Trump briefed on missile strike in Saudi Arabia: White House

  • White House official said they are closely monitoring the situation
  • Houthi militants said they attacked a power station in Saudi Jizan province

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has been briefed about a missile strike on Saudi Arabia, the White House said Thursday, after Houthi militia claimed an attack on a power station in the kingdom’s south.
“The president has been briefed on the reports of a missile strike in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and continuing to consult with our partners and allies.”
There was no immediate confirmation of the attack from Saudi authorities.
Late Wednesday, Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi militants said they struck a power station in southern Jizan province, according to the group’s Al-Masirah TV.
Earlier on Wednesday, a Saudi-led military coalition fighting the militia said a Houthi drone was intercepted over Yemeni airspace.
Last week, a Houthi missile attack on the international airport in southern Abha city left 26 civilians wounded, drawing promises of “stern action” from the coalition.
Human Rights Watch denounced last week’s strike as an apparent “war crime,” urging the Houthis to immediately stop all attacks on civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.
The attacks come amid heightened regional tensions with Iran, which Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused of arming the militia with sophisticated weapons. Tehran denies the charge.
Following recent Houthi attacks, Saudi state media has reported the coalition was intensifying its air raids on the militia’s positions in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah and the Houthi-held capital Sanaa.
The coalition intervened in support of the Yemeni government in 2015 when President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled into Saudi exile as the militants closed in on his last remaining territory in and around second city Aden.
The conflict has triggered what the UN describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 24 million Yemenis — more than two-thirds of the population — in need of aid.