United States Secretary of Defence James Mattis will arrive here tomorrow (Monday) to discuss 'differences in perceptions' with Pakistan's civil and military leadership and 'seek support to defeat militants.' According to a statement issued by the US Department of Defence, Mattis who embarked on a five-day trip to Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait on Friday will arrive in Pakistan on Monday for a daylong visit.
During his visit to Pakistan, the US Secretary of Defence will meet with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, according to the statement, and seek support to defeat militants. Diplomatic sources told Business Recorder that the focus of the talks between the US Secretary of Defence and Pakistani leadership will be Trump administration's approach towards counterterrorism in the region and Afghan conflict, besides regional security, peace and other bilateral issues.
They said Pakistan is also likely to take up the issue of outstanding amount the US is required to release under Coalition Support Fund (CSF) while the US side may also emphasize on 'decisive' action against Haqqani network - a pre-condition attached to CSF reimbursement on Secretary of Defence's certification. Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal while commenting on the visit of US Secretary of Defence during his weekly media briefing on Thursday last said, "Pakistan did not agree to the US policy on South Asia which was announced in August this year."
He said there was a difference in understanding and perceptions on both sides. Thereafter, a dialogue started, by a meeting between the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the US Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of the UNGA this year, which was immediately followed by a number of meetings between the officials of the two countries.
According to him, the US Defence Secretary Mattis will be visiting Pakistan to continue the interaction. "This clearly indicates that dialogue between both the countries to bridge gap in perceptions is ongoing. We are trying to find common grounds and move forward in our bilateral relationship with the US in a positive and cooperative manner," he added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2017