US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he is looking forward to meeting the new leadership in Pakistan and wants to have ‘great relationship’ with the country. Trump told his Cabinet colleagues in the same meeting that he has ended USD 1.3 billion in aid to Pakistan because "this South Asian country houses enemies". The US President underscored that his administration has initiated peace talks with the Taliban. He also announced that a meeting with the new leadership of Pakistan will take place "very soon". Earlier, Donald Trump had accused Pakistan of not doing "a damn thing for us" and defended his administration's decision to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Islamabad.
ALSO READ | Syria: 19 killed in clashes between militants and rebels in Idlib
South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham, who is considered close to President Trump, had told CNN in an interview that if Pakistan helped the US in bringing the Taliban to the table for negotiations, then the US would focus on counterterrorism and the IS.
The Republican Senator wants the US to offer Pakistan a free trade agreement as an incentive for Islamabad to push the Taliban to the peace table to end the Afghan war.
Trump alleged that Pakistan has not been fair to the United States. "We want to have a great relationship with Pakistan, but they house the enemy. They take care of the enemy. We just can't do that," Trump said.
"So, I look forward to meeting with the new leadership in Pakistan. We will be doing that in the not too distant future. But I ended USD 1.3 billion that we paid. I think it was water, we were just paying to Pakistan. So, I ended that."
Trump had slashed nearly US Dollar 800 million in military assistance to Pakistan this year, saying it has not done enough to eliminate safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network within its borders. Trump earlier in 2018 wrote on Twitter that the "United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools."
ALSO READ | After 600 tanks, China to provide 4 naval warships to Pakistan
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had met Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad in September last year and pressed him to take "sustained and decisive measures" against terrorists threatening the regional peace and stability.