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Khawaja Asif leaves for three-day tour of US

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif left for a three-day tour of the United States on Tuesday, where he is expected to meet US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to resume bilateral talks and work out ways to dispel tensions that cropped up after US President Donald Trump’s August 21 speech.

Asif will also reportedly meet US National Security Adviser Lt Gen HR McMaster during the trip.

Asif is also addressing a gathering at the US Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington on US-Pakistan relations on October 5, the institute confirmed, pointing out that Trump’s speech had not only “unsettled US-Pakistan relations” but also had “serious implications for US interests in Afghanistan, nuclear non-proliferation, and stability in the region”.

In the first high-profile meeting between US and Pakistan since Trump’s speech, US Vice President Mike Pence had recently met Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and suggested sending a US delegation to Islamabad for talks aimed at removing tensions.

While accepting the proposal, Pakistan had asked for a high-level meeting in Washington to defuse the tensions. In response, Washington had reportedly invited Asif for a meeting with Secretary Tillerson on October 4.


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