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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday told Pakistan that it must increase its efforts to eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country. Tillerson, who was in Islamabad for a few hours on his inaugural trip to Pakistan as Secretary of State, met Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and discussed the continued bilateral cooperation and partnership, expanding economic ties between the United States and Pakistan, and Pakistan’s critical role in the region, said a US Embassy press release. The top US official reiterated President Donald Trump’s message that Pakistan must increase its efforts to eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country. To address those concerns, the Secretary outlined the United States’ new South Asia Strategy and the vital role that Pakistan can play in working with the United States and others to facilitate a peace process in Afghanistan that can bring stability and security to the region. The Secretary noted that Pakistan and the United States share common interests in establishing a stable, peaceful Afghanistan, defeating ISIS in South Asia, and eliminating terrorist groups that threaten both Pakistan and the United States. In all meetings with Pakistan’s leaders, the Secretary expressed appreciation for Pakistan’s sacrifices in the fight against terrorism. The Secretary also expressed his gratitude to the Government of Pakistan and the Pakistani Army for their cooperation in securing the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity, the statement said. Abbasi also chaired an inter-agency meeting attended by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of Defence Khurram Dastigir Khan, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, ISI chief Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar and other officials.
“Our relationship with Pakistan will be conditions-based”Tillerson’s Islamabad stopover comes a day after he said that the US has made some “very specific requests” to Pakistan to take action to “undermine the support that the Taliban receives and other terrorist organisations receive in Pakistan”. Talking to journalists at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan on Monday, Tillerson said that in Pakistan he will discuss US demands for securing Afghanistan and its conditions for continuing their relationship.
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