US Secretary of State Tillerson meets PM Abbasi

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ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is meeting Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi after arriving earlier in Islamabad as part of his tour to South Asia and the Gulf region.

The meeting is being attended by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, DG ISI Lt General Naveed Mukhtar, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir.

Matters of mutual interest, including the war on terror, are under discussion in the meeting, reported Geo News.

Tillerson, while speaking to the premier before the start of the meeting, said that Pakistan is “important regionally to our joint goals of providing peace and security to the region and providing opportunity for greater economic relationship.”

Abbasi said that the country is committed in the war against terror and the country is looking forward to moving ahead with the US and building a tremendous relationship.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is meeting Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi after arriving earlier in Islamabad as part of his tour to South Asia and the Gulf region.   

According to a statement by the US State Department on October 19, Tillerson will meet with senior Pakistani leaders to discuss matters related to the bilateral relations between the two countries.

On Monday, Tillerson met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the Bagram Airbase after he landed in Afghanistan on a surprise visit.

Addressing the media there, Tillerson said he will pressure Islamabad to take action on the support Taliban and other “terrorist organisations” receive in the country.

Islamabad 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, he told reporters, according to a pool report.

“We want to work closely (with) Pakistan to create a more stable and secure Pakistan as well,” Tillerson said.

This was Tillerson’s first trip to Afghanistan as secretary of state and comes several weeks after US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis also paid an unannounced visit.

US President Donald Trump “has declared that we are here to stay until we can secure a process of reconciliation and peace”, Tillerson said, adding: “It’s not an unlimited commitment.”

Tillerson’s unannounced visit follows one of the bloodiest weeks in Afghanistan in recent memory, with more than 200 people killed in multiple attacks on security installations and mosques across the country.

Following his visit, Tillerson headed to Iraq after which he will arrive in Pakistan. He has earlier visited Saudi Arabia and Qatar as part of his regional tour.

After Pakistan, the US secretary of state will head to New Delhi and then Switzerland.

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