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Relationship with Pakistan “not smooth” but “important”: US

WASHINGTON: Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary on Thursday spoke about ‘not-so-friendly’ relationship with Pakistan, particularly over the last eight years but stressed the ally was important for the United States.

“The US relationship with Pakistan is one that’s quite complicated, particularly when you consider our overlapping national security interests.  The relations between our two countries, particularly over the last eight years, have not been smooth – consistently smooth, particularly in the aftermath of the raid on Pakistani soil that President Obama ordered to take Osama bin Laden off the battlefield,” said the White House Press Secretary.

“But this obviously is an important relationship,” Earnest continued to explain and added, “There have been areas where the United States and Pakistan have been able to effectively coordinate our efforts.”

Commenting on a question why Barack Obama never visited Pakistan as the US President, Earnest said, “At one point in his presidency, I do recall President Obama expressing a desire to travel to Pakistan.  For a variety of reasons, some of them relating to the complicated relationship between our two countries at certain times over the last eight years, President Obama was not able to realise that ambition.”

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According to the Pakistani version of Trump-Sharif telephonic talk, the US President-elect showed his willingness to visit a “fantastic” country like Pakistan and Earnest also thought when Trump would begin his overseas travels, Pakistan would   be one of the places, he would consider visiting.

“It sends a powerful message to the people of a country when the President of the United States goes to visit.  And that’s true whether it’s some of our closest allies, or that’s also true if it’s a country like Pakistan, with whom our relationship is somewhat more complicated.  But ultimately, when President Trump begins planning his overseas travel, he’ll have a range of places to consider, and Pakistan would certainly be one of them.”

He said, “President Obama benefitted enormously from the advice and expertise that’s been shared by those who serve at the State Department.  And I’m confident that as President-elect Trump takes office, those same State Department employees will stand ready to offer him advice as he conducts the business of the United States overseas.  Hopefully, he’ll take it.”

When asked to comment on Trump’s different kind of engagement around the world and its leadership, the US press secretary said, “President Obama benefitted from the professionalism and expertise of career diplomats at the State Department who were able to offer him good advice about engaging with world leaders.  And every President has benefitted from that advice, and I think that President Trump would certainly benefit from it in the same way that President Obama did when he took office.”



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