US President Donald Trump will meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in Washington DC on July 22 and the two leaders would discuss a range of issues, including counter-terrorism, defence, energy, and trade. The United States would press Khan to take irreversible action against terrorist and militant groups, and to facilitate peace talks with the Taliban for an intra-Afghan dialogue, the White House said on Friday.
Imran Khan is travelling to the US at an invitation by Trump and the Administration is preparing to give him a warm welcome which includes a traditional welcome at the White House, one-no-one meeting at the Oval Office and a working luncheon in the presence of several of his Cabinet colleagues and leaders from the Pentagon.
However, ahead of the visit, a senior administration official ruled out lifting suspension of security aid to Pakistan unless it is sees sustained, decisive and irreversible action against terrorist and militant groups.
“As you know, we suspended security assistance to Pakistan in January 2018. And As of now, there’s no change to that policy,” the official said in response to a question.
“The purpose of the visit is to press for concrete cooperation from Pakistan to advance the Afghanistan peace process, and to encourage Pakistan to deepen and sustain its recent effort to crack down on terrorist and militants within its territory,” the senior administration official told reporters during a conference call.
Earlier, a top American general Mark A Milley had told the country’s lawmakers that the United States needs to maintain strong military ties with Pakistan. “While we have suspended security assistance and paused major defense dialogues, we need to maintain strong military-to-military ties based on our shared interests,” Milley said.
“President’s South Asia Strategy recognizes Pakistan as a key partner in achieving US interests in South Asia, including developing a political settlement in Afghanistan; defeating al-Qa’ida (AQ) and ISIS-Khorasan; providing logistical access for US forces; and enhancing regional stability,” he said.