Top US diplomats to visit Pakistan this month

Rex Tillerson-Mattis

ISLAMABAD: Top United States diplomatic and military advisers are expected to arrive in Pakistan in the coming weeks.
According to a foreign news website, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to depart for Pakistan late this month.
He will be followed by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, according to US and Pakistani sources.
Trump came to office indicating that Washington’s frustration had reached the point where something had to give.
“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” he said in an August address.
But in the six weeks since Trump signaled that tougher tone, there have been precious few signs that the calculus in South Asia has changed.
Mattis told Congress this week that he will try “one more time” to “see if we can make this work.”
Pakistan’s foreign minister Khawaja Asif appeared unwavering from the statements issued by the US’ leadership.
He lashed out at “hollow allegations” about Pakistan harboring terrorists as “not acceptable.”
“That is not the way you talk to 70-year-old friends,” Asif said bitterly.
“Instead of accusations and threats we should cooperate with each other for the peace in the region,” he added in confirming Tillerson’s visit.
Earlier this month, a drone strike killed three suspected militants in an attack on a compound in Pakistan’s tribal region.
Pakistani officials have also complained of receiving mixed messages from the Trump administration, which is still struggling to find its feet under a mercurial commander-in-chief.
A September meeting in New York between Vice President Mike Pence and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was said to be cordial, despite Trump’s fire and brimstone rhetoric.
“It was a very good meeting with the vice president,” said Asif.


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