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Tillerson to Pakistan: Facilitate Afghan peace process

Tillerson to Pakistan: Facilitate Afghan peace process

Oct 25, 2017 - 10:26

PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has once again asked Pakistani to facilitate the Afghan-led reconciliation process and intensify the fight against terrorist outfits on its soil.

After Tillerson’s brief trip, the US Embassy in Islamabad said: “The secretary reiterated President Trump’s message that Pakistan must increase its efforts to eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country.”

During the few hours he spent in Islamabad, the secretary of state repeatedly said: “Pakistan is important regionally to our joint goals of providing peace and security to the region and providing opportunity for greater economic relationship as well.”

He met Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar.

Pakistan should facilitate a peace process in Afghanistan, contribute to establishing a stable, peaceful Afghanistan, defeating the Islamic State in South Asia and eliminating terrorist groups that threatened both Pakistan and the US, the visiting dignitary said.

At the US Embassy, Tillerson said he was visiting Islamabad to continue frank discussions on President Trump’s South Asia policy and challenges in the bilateral relationship.

For his part, Prime Minister Abbasi assured Tillerson Pakistan remained committed to the war on terror and looked forward to working with the US.

 “The two sides agreed to build upon the understanding reached in the dialogue process and to continue the pace and scope of high-level engagements in future,” the premier said.

Unacceptable remarks: Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani slammed as unacceptable remarks Tillerson made in in Afghanistan and asked Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif to brief the upper house of parliament on Washington’s demands.

“He [Tillerson] has come here for talks, but his tone and tenor are inappropriate,” Rabbani said, adding that the secretary seemed to be behaving like a “viceroy”. He asked the secretary to go through the resolution adopted by parliament on Pak-US relations.

Rabbani said Tillerson’s statement suggested that some conditions had been set for Pakistan. The foreign minister should brief the house on the conditions, the Senate chairman concluded.

The secretary had a 200-minute stopover in Islamabad after traveling to Iraq and a surprise visit to Afghanistan. A day earlier in Afghanistan, he had said Pakistan's cooperation on counter-terrorism was essential for a good relationship with the US.