In Conversation With Imran Khan, Trump Offers to Mediate Kashmir Issue Between India and Pakistan 

Washington: In a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, US President Donald Trump has offered to mediate the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan.

Trump also said the United States is working with Islamabad to find a way out of the war in Afghanistan. Trump held out the possibility of restoring US aid to Pakistan, depending upon what is worked out, and offered assistance to Islamabad in trying to ease strained ties with India.

The meeting between US President Donald Trump and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is underway at the White House, with talks centering on Afghanistan as the US seeks a peace accord with the Taliban to end more than 18 years of war.

Earlier, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi termed Khan’s meeting with Trump as start of a new era of bilateral relations.

“The Prime Minister of Pakistan is here to showcase his vision of a “Naya Pakistan” and to start a new era of bilateral relations. We have come with a narrative of peace and prosperity in the region,” Qureshi said in a tweet.

Talking on the Afghan war, Trump said that Washington is working with Islamabad to find a way out of the war in Afghanistan. Trump held out the possibility of restoring US aid to Pakistan, depending upon what is worked out, Reutersreported.

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The meeting between the two leaders comes nearly six months after Trump accused Pakistan of lying and being duplicitous. This also happens to be Khan’s first visit to USA after being elected to power in August 2018.

A senior official of the trump administration had earlier said the goal of the visit is “to press for concrete cooperation from Pakistan to advance the Afghanistan peace process.”

The Trump administration also wants to encourage Pakistan to “deepen and sustain its recent effort to crack down on militants and terrorists within its territory,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

The United States is pressing for a political agreement with the Taliban before presidential voting in Afghanistan in late September. This would clear the way for most US troops to withdraw from Afghanistan and bring an end to America’s longest war.

Washington and Kabul accuse Pakistan of supporting armed extremist groups such as the Haqqani network, which is an ally of the Taliban, by giving it refuge in Pakistani regions along the border with Afghanistan.

Pakistan denies providing such support and argues that, in fact, it has sustained huge losses in terms of lives and money as it fights extremism.

“We are concerned about the links between these groups and Pakistan’s intelligence services and military,” the administration official said, referring to Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Haqqani network.

Days before Khan’s visit, Pakistani authorities detained Hafiz Saeed, the founder of LeT and the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, in a move hailed by Trump as a result of the pressure applied by his administration.

But Saeed — declared a global terrorist by the United States and the United Nations — has for years rotated in and out of detention, and Democratic lawmakers later hit back at the president, tweeting: “Let’s hold the (applause) until he’s convicted.”

Agencies

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