'We Stand By Our Readout': US on Pak's Unusual Request to 'Correct' Version of Imran Khan-Mike Pompeo Call
According to the US version, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the importance of new Pakistan PM Imran Khan taking "decisive action" against all terrorists operating on its soil. Pakistan’s Foreign Office, however, says there was no mention of terrorist groups.
File photo of Pakistan PM Imran Khan.
Islamabad: A fresh row has erupted between the US and Pakistan with Islamabad taking exception to a State Department statement that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the issue of terrorism with newly-elected Prime Minister Imran Khan while Washington stands by its version.
In an unusual move, Pakistan asked the US to "immediately correct" the readout issued by the State Department.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert had said in a statement that Pompeo, in his talks with Khan, raised the importance of Pakistan taking "decisive action" against all terrorists operating in Pakistan and its vital role in promoting the Afghan peace process.
However, according to the Pakistan Foreign Office (FO), Pompeo congratulated Khan while discussing other issues of interest and there was no mention of "terrorists operating in Pakistan".
FO spokesman Mohammad Faisal said "Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by US State Department on today's phone call between Prime Minister Khan and Secretary Pompeo".
"There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan. This should be immediately corrected," Faisal said on Twitter.
Nauert said Pompeo's telephonic discussion with Khan was good and the US stands by its earlier statement.
"In the readout, the secretary notes that he spoke with the new prime minister and expressed his willingness to work with the new government toward a productive bilateral relationship. They had a good call," she said. "That may surprise some of you, but they had a good call. Pakistan is an important partner to the United States. We hope to forge a good, productive working relationship with the new civilian government," she said.
She went on to say that based on her understanding, "the beginning of the call or the call itself was a good call, and a good discussion toward our working with the new government and the new administration".
When asked again by a reporter if the US government continues to stand by the readout, she said: "We stand by our readout."
The Pakistani media this week reported that Pompeo is likely to visit Islamabad in the first week of September to hold talks with newly-elected Prime Minister Khan.
Pompeo, who is expected in Islamabad on September 5, would be the first foreign dignitary to meet Khan, Dawn reported, quoting the diplomatic and official sources.
The relations between Pakistan and the US nose-dived after President Donald Trump in January accused Islamabad of giving nothing to Washington but "lies and deceit" and providing "safe haven" to terrorists.
The US Congress also passed a bill to slash Pakistan's defence aid to $150 million, significantly below the historic level of more than USD one billion per year.
In his victory speech last month, Khan said he wants a balanced relation between Pakistan and America which should be mutually beneficial, not one sided.
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