Khalilzad discusses Afghan peace process with Pakistani FM

Zalmay Khalilzad met with Pakistan's foreign minister to discuss the Afghan peace process. (File/AFP)
Updated 18 January 2019
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Khalilzad discusses Afghan peace process with Pakistani FM

  • The US envoy briefed him "on his recent engagements in the region for an Afghan peace and reconciliation process"
  • Islamabad says its influence on the Taliban is overstated but it will do whatever is possible for peace

ISLAMABAD: Officials say US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has met with Pakistan's foreign minister on the second day of his visit to Islamabad as part of efforts to find a peaceful solution to neighboring Afghanistan's 17-year war.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that during Friday's meeting with Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the U.S. envoy briefed him "on his recent engagements in the region for an Afghan peace and reconciliation process."
He said Qureshi assured Khalilzad of Pakistan's support for a peace process, which has suffered a setback because of the Taliban's persistent refusal to directly talk to the Afghan government in Kabul.
Washington hopes Pakistan can help end the conflict.
Islamabad says its influence on the Taliban is overstated but it will do whatever is possible for peace. 


Sixteen states sue Trump over border wall emergency

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, right, accompanied by Gov. Gavin Newsom, said California will probably sue President Donald Trump over his emergency declaration to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP)
Updated 19 February 2019
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Sixteen states sue Trump over border wall emergency

  • The complaint added that the Department of Homeland Security had violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to evaluate the environmental impact of the wall in California and New Mexico

SAN FRANCISCO: Sixteen US states sued President Donald Trump’s administration Monday over his decision to declare a national emergency to fund a wall on the southern border with Mexico, saying the move violated the constitution.
The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California, said the president’s order was contrary to the Presentment Clause that outlines legislative procedures and the Appropriations Clause, which defines Congress as the final arbiter of public funds.
The move had been previously announced by Xavier Becerra the attorney general of California who said his state and others had legal standing because they risked losing moneys intended for military projects, disaster assistance and other purposes.
Several Republican senators have decried the emergency declaration, saying it establishes a dangerous precedent and amounts to executive overreach.
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia are party to the complaint seeking an injunction.
“Use of those additional federal funds for the construction of a border wall is contrary to Congress’s intent in violation of the US Constitution, including the Presentment Clause and Appropriations Clause,” the complaint said.
It added that Trump had “veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making.”
“Congress has repeatedly rebuffed the president’s insistence to fund a border wall, recently resulting in a record 35-day partial government shutdown over the border wall dispute,” the document read.
“After the government reopened, Congress approved, and the president signed into law, a $1.375 billion appropriation for fencing along the southern border, but Congress made clear that funding could not be used to build President Trump’s proposed border wall.”
The complaint added that the Department of Homeland Security had violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to evaluate the environmental impact of the wall in California and New Mexico.
Friday’s declaration enables the president to divert funds from the Pentagon’s military construction budget and other sources.