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Pak foreign minister arrives in US to improve ties

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Pakistan's arrived here today on a three-day visit to the US as part of efforts to rebuild bilateral ties frayed after President accused the country of sheltering terror groups.

Asif, who will hold talks with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today, will meet top leadership of the Trump administration during his visit.

He is also scheduled to meet US Advisor H R McMaster tomorrow.

The visit of the top Pakistani diplomat comes less than a fortnight after US Vice President Mike Pence Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

The visit indicates a gradual resumption of talks between the two countries that was paused by an upset after Trump announced his South policy.

Releasing the daily engagement of Tillerson, the State Department said the two leaders would meet at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department at around 10 am (7.30 pm IST). There would be a camera spray at the top.

"All the issues of mutual interest will be discussed," a spokesman of the Pakistani embassy in Washington said in response to a question.

The will also deliver remarks at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), a Washington DC-based think-tank.

"Asif will deliver remarks on Pakistan's reaction since the announcement of the new US strategy. He will discuss the dynamics between and its neighbours, the role of regional players such as China, Iran and Russia, and the future of US-Pakistan relations," USIP said.

According to the USIP, US-Pakistani relations have reached a new nadir following the announcement of the new US South strategy.

Trump's speech appears to have confirmed Pakistan's fears that the US is shifting to regard India as its main partner for engagement in Afghanistan and the region, it said.

Meanwhile, US officials signal a loss of patience with Pakistan over the continued operation by extremist groups from within the country that conduct attacks in Afghanistan and India.

Among top US policymakers, a more coercive approach with Pakistan appears to be gaining support. Ideas under discussion include reducing military aid, increasing unilateral drone activity and revoking Pakistan's status as a major non-NATO ally, the USIP said.

(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: Wed, October 04 2017. 10:42 IST