–White House statement says US President and Pakistan PM will discuss peace and issues concerning counterterrorism, defence, and trade
–Pakistan FO says visit will breathe new life in Pak-US ties
ISLAMABAD/WASHINGTON: The White House on Wednesday confirmed that Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit the United States on July 22 to meet President Donald Trump on latter’s invitation.
This would be the first summit-level engagement between Pakistan and the United States since both leaders assumed their respective offices and would “contribute towards building a broad-based, long-term and enduring partnership between the two countries”.
A controversy had erupted regarding the PM’s visit to the US after a State Department spokesperson in her weekly presser claimed that her department had no idea about the visit of the Pakistan premier and that she had to approach the White House for confirmation.
“To my knowledge, that has actually not been confirmed by the White House. I know that I have read the same reports that you have, but I would reach out to the White House to confirm or not confirm that visit, but that’s — we don’t have anything to announce here from the State Department,” Morgan Ortagus said.
After the starting making rounds in the mainstream media, the Pakistani Foreign Office issued a statement, urging ‘caution’ while reporting of the PM’s upcoming visit to Washington.
“The visit will focus on strengthening cooperation between the US and Pakistan to bring peace, stability, and economic prosperity to a region that has seen far too much conflict,” said a statement issued by the White House.
“President Trump and Prime Minister Imran will discuss a range of issues, including counterterrorism, defence, energy, and trade, with the goal of creating the conditions for a peaceful South Asia and an enduring partnership between our two countries,” the statement added.
During the visit, PM Imran Khan and President Trump will have “wide-ranging interaction at the White House on 22 July 2019 covering bilateral and regional matters”, said a Pakistani FO statement following the press release by the US confirming the visit.
“The prime minister will also be meeting prominent members of the US Congress, corporate leaders and opinion makers as well as members of the Pakistani diaspora,” it explained the visit.
According to the FO statement, the prime minister will outline his vision of ‘Naya Pakistan’ and underscore the importance Pakistan attaches to a broader and multi-faceted relationship with the United States.
In the regional context, the prime minister will underscore Pakistan’s commitment to peace and stability and the importance of constructive engagement to promote a political solution in Afghanistan, it said.
He will also highlight Pakistan’s policy of “peaceful neighbourhood” aimed at resolving disputes through dialogue and promoting the vision of peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia and beyond, said the statement.
Earlier, the FO spokesman in a weekly briefing had announced that the prime minister would pay an official visit to the United States and meet President Donald Trump on July 22.