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USA defense secretary meets Pakistan's prime minister

07 December 2017

Responding to a longtime USA demand for action against the powerful Haqqani network in the country, Abbasi reiterated that there are no safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan, the statement said.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said he intends to work hard to find common ground with Pakistan in the fight against terrorism, which is necessary to restore the level of stability in South Asia to allow economic development.

Mattis met Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his brief visit to Pakistan this week.

Talking to journalists aboard his plane yesterday, Mattis said he did not plan to "prod" Pakistan into action because he expected Islamabad to adhere to its promises to combat terrorism, Dawn reported. However sources said the Pakistani leadership ruled out the possibility of the same. "We are not putting forward any demands to Pakistan, but we want to work together", the report said. Secondly, Washington has been told to play its role in the return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan, a step that would ensure no militants can hide in the garb of refugees on the Pakistani soil.

"He agreed with Secretary Mattis that both Pakistan and the US have common stakes in securing peace and security in Afghanistan for the long term stability of the broader region", the statement further said.

When asked about USA efforts to push Pakistan to clear safe havens, Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo suggested Washington was prepared to move if its ally failed to act.

Mattis is the first top American official to visit Pakistan after the completion of the first 100 days of the US' new South Asia strategy unveiled by Trump on August 21.

Similarly, he said, there is common ground between Afghanistan and Pakistan, because there are terrorist groups that try to move back and forth, that do move back and forth in order to live in one and attack in the other, that sort of thing.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has flatly rejected the United States demand for joint operations against militants on the former's soil in the latest round of "inconclusive" talks between the two countries held this week, diplomatic sources told The News.

USA defense secretary meets Pakistan's prime minister