US keenly interested in bilateral relations with Pakistan, says outgoing US envoy

Islamabad: David Hale, the outgoing US Ambassador in Pakistan, has assured Pakistan’s newly appointed Prime Minister Imran Khan that the US wanted good, sustained and long-term relations with Pakistan.

Ambassador Hale was attempting to diffuse the tension caused by the recent telephone conversation between Prime Minister Khan and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during which Washington stated it “raised the importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists” operating in the country.

Hale’s meeting was also his farewell call on Pakistan’s Prime Minister and was attended by Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and top officials of both countries.

Earlier, Hale also called on the Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and thanked him for the Pakistan Army’s contributions to regional peace and stability.

General Bajwa also thanked the US Ambassador for his services in Pakistan and acknowledged his contributions towards Pakistan-US relations, says a tweet by Major General Asif Ghafoor, Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations of the Pakistan Armed Forces.

During the meeting, Qureshi underscored the importance of long-standing relations with the US and said he looked forward to welcoming the US Secretary of State in Islamabad. Pompeo is due in Pakistan on September 5 and according to sources, he is bringing a dossier of important information about terrorists’ hideouts and safe havens located along the Pakistan-Afghanistan borders.

Qureshi told Hale that his interactions with the US leadership would be based on honesty and sincerity, to develop a sustained partnership in the interest of both countries.

Hale’s next assignment will be as the Undersecretary for Political Affairs at the US Department of State.

Qureshi expressed hope that as someone who understood Pakistan and the region, Hale would be able to play a positive role in strengthening bilateral relations and towards peace and prosperity in the region.

Ambassador Hale assured Qureshi that there was great interest in the United States regarding Prime Minister Khan’s reforms agenda, and a readiness to turn the page, with this being the objective of Secretary Pompeo’s visit to Pakistan.

Earlier, controversy had erupted when US State Department published the readout of the phone conversation between Khan and Pompeo, stating: “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.”

The Pakistan Foreign Office rejected the statement, saying it was factually incorrect. The State Department, however, disregarded Pakistan’s contention and stood by its initial readout of the phone call.


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