August 24, 2018 Off By Web Desk

The United States (US) reaffirmed Thursday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed Pakistan’s newly-minted Prime Minister Imran Khan in an earlier phone conversation to combat “terrorists,” despite denial by Islamabad of the content.

Xinhua news agency reported that according to a press briefing, State Department spokesman Heather Nauert refused to speculate on why the two sides had such a huge difference on their understanding about the call.

“I can’t speak on their behalf. I can only say we stand by our readout,” she said.

She added that Pompeo and Khan had a “good” call, and that “we hope to forge a good, productive working relationship with the new civilian government.”

In an earlier statement issued on the same day, Nauert said Pompeo “raised the importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists operating in Pakistan and its vital role in promoting the Afghan peace process.”

Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Mohammad Faisal has denied Nauert’s claim.

“Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by the US State Dept on today”s phone call between PM Khan & Sec Pompeo,” he tweeted. “There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan. This should be immediately corrected,” he said.

Relations between the US and Pakistan have been tense following US President Donald Trump’s tweet on Jan 1, in which he accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit” against the US and providing a “safe haven” to terrorists despite receiving US aid.

Pakistan has insisted, however, that Washington’s aid was reimbursement of the cost of ground facilities and air corridors used for US operations in Afghanistan, not financial aid or assistance.

Islamabad also rejects US claims that it supports the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network operating in the country. Both groups are designated by Washington as terrorist organisations.