Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will make his first official visit to Washington from July 21-23 where he will meet US President Donald Trump in hopes to mend strained ties.
At a press briefing in Islamabad on Thursday, Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said Imran and Trump will hold wide ranging interaction at the White House on July 22 covering bilateral and regional matters. “The visit will help renew and reinvigorate long-standing ties between Pakistan and the United States. It will contribute towards building a broad-based, long-term and enduring partnership between the two countries on the basis of mutual interest and mutual benefit,” Dr Faisal said.
During his various engagements in Washington, Imran will also meet prominent members of the US Congress, corporate leaders, and opinion makers as well as members of the Pakistani diaspora. The Pakistani premier, during the visit, will also explain his vision for Pakistan’s future and accentuate the importance Pakistan attaches to a broader and multi-faceted relationship with the United States.
In his meetings, Imran will highlight Pakistan’s commitment to peace and stability and the importance of constructive engagement for a political solution in Afghanistan, according to the FO statement. “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.”
The meeting comes as the Afghan leaders and the Taliban agreed on a roadmap for peace to end the nearly 18-year war in Afghanistan. Political analysts believe the Imran-Trump meeting will mostly focus on the Afghan conflict. Pakistan recently hosted the first Afghan Peace Conference, which was attended by key Afghan politicians, and this was followed by Afghan President Ashraf Gani’s crucial visit to Islamabad.
“Pakistan’s role in [Afghan Peace] talks has been acknowledged and appreciated” Dr Faisal recalled.
The White House in its official statement said Imran’s visit will focus on “strengthening cooperation between the United States and Pakistan to bring peace, stability, and economic prosperity to a region that has seen far too much conflict.”
The statement said the two leaders 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.”
Days ahead of the visit, the US designated a major anti-Pakistan militant organisation Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) as a global terrorist organisation. Islamabad welcomed the move and hoped that it would help shrink space for BLA to operate.