Washington, DC – The Trump Administration is working at different levels with its Pakistani counterparts, although its position on Pakistan stays the same according to a State Department official.
Asked to comment on the US-Pakistan relationship with the arrival of John Bolton as the new National Security Advisor in the White House, a State Department Spokesperson told IAT, “Our position on Pakistan has not changed. We meet and talk regularly, at all levels of government, in Washington, Islamabad and elsewhere, to discuss our bilateral relationship and Pakistani support for our South Asia strategy.”
Worth noting is the statement from hardliner Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, who said last August that Pakistan might become, “Iran or North Korea on steroids.”
Bolton was named as the new National Security Adviser after his predecessor, H.R. McMaster resigned following reports of “irreparable” differences with the president and other key White House officials.
Listing the engagements between Islamabad and Washington, the State Department Spokesperson said, “For example, Prime Minister Abbasi was just in Washington for a private visit, and met with the Vice President on March 16 to discuss the South Asia strategy. Deputy Assistant to the President, Lisa Curtis was in Islamabad in February and Foreign Secretary Janjua was in Washington as well.”
“This regular engagement with Pakistan focuses on how we can work together to advance Afghanistan’s stability through a negotiated process, to defeat all terrorist groups that threaten regional stability, and to address Pakistan’s legitimate regional concerns,” explained the spokesperson.
Washington is looking forward to address Islamabad’s, “concerns about border management, refugees, and Afghanistan-based terrorist groups.” Calling these concerns ”important and legitimate,” the State Department Spokesperson highlighted the “need (for these) to be resolved during the course of a reconciliation process.”