US defence chief urges Pakistan to ‘redouble’ efforts against militants
ISLAMABAD/WASHINGTON: US Defence Secretary James Mattis held a meeting with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and said the United States wants to take its longstanding ties forward with Pakistan.
Mattis said a common way needs to be found for continuous ties with Pakistan, said a statement released after the meeting.
Lauding the professional capabilities of Pakistan Army, the US defence secretary said he was aware of the sacrifices rendered by the Army and he values the capability of the force.
Abbasi said Pakistan will benefit the most from peace in Afghanistan and relations between the two countries need to be further strengthened.
The prime minister added he appreciates America’s resolve against the use of Afghan soil for anti-Pakistan activities and agreed that bilateral cooperation between the two countries should increase,
Abbasi further added that the US delegation was briefed on recent operations against terrorism and stated that intelligence operations will continue in the country.
The premier, reiterating Pakistan’s resolve, said that there are no terrorist safe havens in the country, with the nation being united against terrorism.
The US defence secretary was also briefed on efforts to secure the Pak-Afghan border and measures taken were also part of the briefing.
Mattis was further briefed on Pakistan’s efforts in the war on terror.
ISI Director General Lieutenant General Naveed Mukhtar, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir and National Security Adviser Lt Gen (retd) Naseer Khan Janjua are present in the meeting.
Earlier, James Mattis arrived at the Nur Khan Airbase on Monday afternoon where he was received by officials from the defence and foreign ministries.
Prior to arriving in Pakistan, Mattis said he intends to “work hard on finding the common ground” and “work together” with Pakistan — where he arrives today for his first visit since taking over the charge of the Pentagon.
Speaking to reporters travelling with him in the Middle East, the American defence chief said, “We have heard from Pakistan leaders that they do not support terrorism. So I expect to see that sort of action reflected in their policies.”
When asked if he was going to press the Pakistani leaders to take more action against the insurgents, Mattis stated that the country was taking action in its own best interests and “that’s not the way I deal with issues”.
“I believe that we work hard on finding the common ground and then we work together.”
“There’s plenty of collaborative areas, right now, still in effect. There’s been some areas that we have lost over the years, because of disagreements about what we need to do,” he said.
“We’ll discuss the South Asia strategy,” the secretary noted, saying that he had already visited India and Afghanistan and it was a continued dialogue that the US had for the process to ensure peace in Afghan.
“The US remains committed to a pragmatic relationship that expands cooperation on shared interests” while reinforcing Trump’s call for action against the alleged safe havens, Mattis said.
Mattis recognizes Pakistan’s sacrifices in war against terrorism: Pentagon
WASHINGTON: A Pentagon spokesperson on Monday said that the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who was in Islamabad on a day-long visit, has acknowledged Pakistan s sacrifices in war against terrorism.
The spokesperson said that Mattis discussed Pakistan’s role in the peace process in Afghanistan and reiterated that Pakistan must redouble its efforts to confront militants and terrorists.
“Both Pakistan and the United States have common stakes in securing peace and security in Afghanistan for the long-term stability of the border region” the spokesman satated.