President Trump speech at Davos unlikely to improve ties with Pakistan

President Trump speech at Davos unlikely to improve ties with Pakistan

DAVOS - President Donald Trump’s much-anticipated speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) is unlikely to do anything to improve bilateral relations with Islamabad, Pakistan foreign minister told CNBC on Wednesday.

Speaking at WEF in Davos, Switzerland, Khawaja Muhammad Asif said: "Frankly speaking, we are a bit apprehensive from what we have been hearing from over the past one year (and) we don't expect any radical departure from what he has been saying."

The U.S. president is due to arrive in Davos this week, as the Swiss Alpine town hosts the annual meeting of global business and political leaders. Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech to WEF attendees Friday. Afghanistan is 'just one problem'

Pakistan's Asif said he hoped the U.S. and the South Asian nation could soon focus on their bilateral relationship once again, rather than just "through the prism of Afghanistan."

"The whole relationship should not hinge on just one problem in our region," he added.

In his first tweet of 2018, Trump said the U.S. had "foolishly" handed Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years while gaining nothing in return but "lies and deceit."

It was not clear what prompted Trump's criticism of Islamabad, although he has long complained Pakistan is not doing enough to tackle Islamic militants.

In response, Pakistan said it had launched military operations to push out militants from the country and, since 2001, more than 17,000 Pakistanis had died fighting militants or in bombings.

Furthermore, just a day after Trump's tweet lambasting Pakistan, its central bank announced it would replace the dollar with the yuan for bilateral trade and investment with China.

When asked whether he was concerned diplomatic ties between Washington and Islamabad had reached an irrevocable conclusion, Asif replied: "It is repairable, there is absolutely no doubt about it."

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