Trump, Pakistani PM to Talk on Afghan Peace Process, Counterterrorism
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – US President Donald Trump and Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan are ready to kick-off talks at the White House on Monday where the two leaders are expected to discuss a range of security issues including counterterrorism and the Afghan war.
According to the White House, the number one focus for Trump will be discussing Pakistan’s role in bringing an end to the conflict in Afghanistan.
"The purpose of this visit is to press for concrete cooperation from Pakistan to advance the Afghanistan peace process... We are asking Pakistan to pressure the Taliban into a permanent ceasefire and participation in inter-Afghan negotiations that will include the Afghan government," a senior administration official told reporters on Friday.
Earlier this month, the White House in a statement said the two leaders will also discuss energy and trade and the goal of "creating the conditions for a peaceful South Asia and an enduring partnership between our two countries."
Trump is also expected to call on Pakistan to release Dr. Shakil Afridi, who helped the CIA confirm Osama bin Laden's presence in Pakistan.
An administration official said last week that the US side will also encourage Pakistan to deepen and sustain its recent effort to crack down on militant terrorists within its territory.
Moreover, the official said Trump will communicate to Khan that the United States is ready to repair relations and build a partnership if Pakistan changes its policies to address concerns of militants and terrorists seeking safe haven in their country.
Trump is also expected to encourage Pakistan to ease restrictions on trade transiting the country between India and Afghanistan in order to create opportunity to enhance regional economic development.
The US delegation led by Trump will include Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Acting Secretary of Defense Richard Spencer, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Joint Chief of Staffs Chairman Joseph Dunford, White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner and others, the official said.
The Pakistani delegation will visit the White House on Monday for a working meeting on a range of mutual interests.
Pakistan, for its part, sees the invitation to the White House as the signal of easing of tensions with the United States that have marked previous years.
"From isolation, we have moved toward invitation," Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at a presser last week. "We see (the) invitation as acknowledgement of the inherent importance of the relationship for both sides."