Ice melts in Pakistan US tense relations

Ice melts in Pakistan US tense relations
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WASHINGTON: There seems to be ice melting between United States and Pakistan after a long patch of tense relations since Trump has taken over as US President.

Hawkish White House aide Lisa Curtis came to Pakistan Embassy and said that Pakistan and US have a lot to gain by working with each other.

Pakistan’s Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary argues that US-Pakistan relations should not be weighed in dollars.

Ms Curtis, deputy assistant to the US president on South and Central Asia, was the guest of honour at the Pakistan Day reception at the embassy on Friday night.

“We look forward to growing the US-Pakistan relationship, which has seen its challenges,” said Ms Curtis, who during a recent visit to Islamabad emphasised the need for a new relationship with Pakistan. This relationship, she said, should be “based on a shared commitment to defeat all terrorist groups that threaten regional stability and security as well as on a shared vision of a peaceful future for Afghanistan”.

Lisa Curtis urges ties should be based on a shared commitment to defeat all terrorist groups

Ms Curtis reiterated the need for rebuilding this relationship at the embassy’s reception as well, noting that the two countries had a long history of working together.

“While there were some challenges faced by the relationship, the two countries have a lot to gain by working with each other,” she added.

Relations between the United States and Pakistan, which began to strain in 2011, reached a new low in January when President Donald Trump suspended US security assistance to Islamabad over the alleged presence of Afghan militant groups in Fata. Pakistan rejects the charge as incorrect and says that it has eliminated all terrorist hideouts from Fata.

But in recent weeks, the two sides held a series of talks to improve relations — including a one-on-one meeting between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and US Vice President Mike Pence in Washington last week.

The White House’s decision to send Ms Curtis to the embassy was interpreted as a goodwill gesture because in Pakistani circles she is seen as a hawk. Many in Pakistan believe that she advocates increasing pressure on Islamabad to persuade it to accept the new US strategy for South Asia, which gives India a greater role in Afghanistan.

Foreign Policy