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Tillerson to arrive in Pakistan on maiden visit

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

US Secretary of State Rex will arrive in today on his to the country to normalise bilateral ties strained after President accused it of providing safe havens to terrorist groups.

Tillerson's crucial visit to comes days after he made a major policy speech on America's growing strategic relations with and US President Trump's move to offer a bigger say for in war-torn

Tillerson, during a surprise visit to yesterday, indicated that he will firmly tell to stop providing safe havens to terror groups on its soil to improve bilateral ties.

needed to "take a clear-eyed view of the situation that they are confronted with in terms of the number of terrorist organisations that find safe haven inside" the country, told reporters travelling with him at the Bagaram Air Force base in

"We have made some very specific requests of in order for them to take action to undermine the support that the Taliban receives and the other terrorist organisations receive in Pakistan," said.

is visiting on the invitation of Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif.

During his brief visit, he will meet Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Foreign Minister Asif and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Tillerson's visit to marks the first by a senior member of the Trump administration.

The Radio reported that Pak-US relations, stability in and regional security issues will be discussed during the meetings.

Foreign Office sources said that the discussion would focus on improving security and economic relations but "cooperation against militants would be prominent during talks."

Tillerson's visit is significant as it would clarify Trump's policy and set course for future Islamabad-Washington relations.

In August, had unveiled his and South Asia policy in which he had hit out at for providing safe havens to "agents of chaos" that kill Americans in and warned that it has "much to lose" by harbouring terrorists.

regularly denies that it hosts terror groups fighting the US and Afghan forces in

Trump's criticism led to further strain in US-relations with a peeved saying the US president ignored its efforts in the war against terrorism.

But bilateral relations improved slightly after a meeting between Prime Minister Abbasi and Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month.

The ties lso improved after Pakistani troops rescued an American-Canadian family from militants who held them captive for over five years.

There was another step forward when Quadrilateral Coordination Group of Afghanistan, China, and US held its meeting last week in Oman after a hiatus of over one year to help start peace talks between Kabul and Taliban.

The US also met a major demand of for action against militants operating against it from when a drone killed chief of Jamaatul Ahrar Umar Khalid Khurasani last week.

The top militant was involved in several terrorist attacks in including Peshawar school attack in 2014 that killed 150 people, mostly students.

In Pakistan, officials said that they are wary of demands by the US without taking into consideration its concerns about increasing role of in

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, October 24 2017. 16:22 IST