Pakistan snubs US ahead of Pompeo visit

| Qureshi calls US statement about Imran phone talk contrary to facts | Pompeo’s Sept 5 tour to be followed by visits of Chinese, Japanese FMs

ISLAMABAD  -  Pakistan on Friday snubbed Unites States ahead of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit where the two uneasy allies would look for options to revive trust.

Addressing a news conference here after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit He claimed that Pakistan’s foreign policy front would not be apologetic, adding that ‘we will safeguard our interests with respect and honour’.

Qureshi said that Mike Pompeo was expected to visit Pakistan in the first week of September. “The US should understand that the world is no more uni-polar. It’s now fast becoming multi-polar”, he warned.

He, however, added that Pakistan wanted good relations with the US based on mutual respect.

He said that Islamabad needed to understand US compulsions and needs in Afghanistan and Washington should give importance and weight to Pakistan’s point of view.

Earlier, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Faisal rejected the US State Department’s readout about the call between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as ‘factually incorrect’.

In a statement, Dr Faisal said, “Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by the US State Department on the phone call between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo”.

The statement issued by the State Department said, “Secretary Pompeo raised importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists operating in Pakistan and its vital role in promoting Afghan peace process.”

Qureshi said that the government would make all out efforts to get Pakistan out of Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s grey list. He said that the government did not at all like that Pakistan was placed on black list. He said that the government would take every measure on this count.

The foreign minister said that peace in the region was in the best interest of Pakistan, adding that ‘we want to see complete peace in Afghanistan’. Qureshi said that regional peace was top priority of ‘our foreign policy and positive indications have been received from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in this regard’. He said that peace in Afghanistan was perquisite for peace in the entire region and Pakistan wanted a peaceful Afghanistan.

The foreign minister said that Pak-India relations were victim of delay and both the countries would have to look into the prospects as to how they could move forward. He said that dialogue was the only way forward to resolve all outstanding issues between the two countries.

“But we can’t clap with one hand. As the PM has said, if they take one step, we will take two,” he added. He said that Pakistan wanted peace and was not shy of engagement with New Delhi. He said that talks were the only way forward, which, he said, were stalled currently.

He said that Kashmir is the core issue between Pakistan and India. He said that the government would continue raising Pakistan’s point of view in an effective manner on all issues including Kashmir and water.

The minister said that Iran is Pakistan’s neighbour and ‘Pakistan is desirous of peaceful and stable border with Iran’. He said that the foreign minister of Iran had expressed his desire to visit Pakistan, adding that ‘we will warmly welcome him’.

Qureshi said that Pak-China everlasting friendship was unprecedented. He said that his Chinese counterpart also showed his willingness to visit Pakistan after Pompeo’s visit followed by Japanese top diplomat. The minister said that his visit will further expand the existing ties between the two countries.

Regarding CPEC the foreign minister said it was a good initiative and there was a need to get maximum benefit of it. He said Chinese foreign minister was expected to visit Pakistan on 9th of next month.

The foreign minister said that South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation was an important forum to promote regional cooperation. However, he regretted that the SAARC could not deliver due results. He said that oversees Pakistanis were our great asset and they should create a suitable environment and highlight soft image of Pakistan at international level.

The foreign minister said that political and economic centres of gravity were shifting and the world was again becoming uni-polar to multi-polar. He said that foreign policy should be framed according to the new needs and requirements.

The foreign minister stressed the need of initiating an inter-institutions dialogue for strong and effective policies. He also emphasised exploring markets of EU and African countries to enhance trade and investment opportunities for Pakistan.

Qureshi urged media to play effective role in image and narrative building of the country. He said that media should highlight foreign policy issues in the best interest of Pakistan.

Regarding austerity drive of Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said that the foreign minister would not stay in 5-star hotels during his visits abroad and would prefer to stay in Pakistani missions. He also announced not to travel by first class and to curtail large entourage. He said that it had been decided that no minister or secretary would undertake any foreign trip without the permission of the PM.



Pakistan snubs US

ahead of Pompeo visit



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