Pakistan wants to improve ties with US: Qureshi

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Islamabad, Aug 28 (IANS) Pakistan desires to improve relations with the US and it is time to “move on”, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Tuesday, following last week’s row between the two countries over the handout of a telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The handout issued after the call between Khan and Pompeo mentioned that the latter, during the conversation on August 23, had raised the importance of Islamabad taking decisive action against all terrorists operating on its soil.

However, the Pakistan Foreign Office rejected the US’ assertion as “contrary to facts”. But the US State Department stood by its initial readout of the phone call.

While addressing the Senate on Tuesday, Qureshi repeated his stance that Washington’s “terrorism talk” claim did not surface during the conversation at all. He said he was aware that the US had stood by its original press release, but maintained that the same was not true as “mistakes happen”, Dawn online reported.

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Stating that it is time to “move on”, the Foreign Minister said Pakistan will try to steer its bilateral relations with the US towards betterment during the US Secretary of State’s visit to Islamabad on September 5. Pompeo will likely be the first foreign dignitary to meet the newly-elected Prime Minister.

Also present in the Senate, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani said that the US “certainly has differences with Pakistan” and that “we will not allow the US Secretary of State tell Imran (Khan) to ‘do more’ on the war on terror”.

–IANS

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