Trump's national security adviser on unannounced visit to Pakistan

Published: April 17, 2017

ISLAMABAD: US National Security Advisor Lieutenant General H R McMaster arrived in Islamabad on Monday on an unannounced visit, a day after he hinted the US could take a tougher stance on Pakistan.

It was the first visit by a top member of President Donald Trump’s administration to the militancy-hit South Asian country, and came after a stop in neighbouring Afghanistan where he suggested Washington may take a stronger line on Islamabad, for years seen as an unreliable US ally.

A statement issued by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s office said McMaster had “assured the Prime Minister that the new administration was committed to strengthening bilateral relations and working with Pakistan, to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan and in the wider South Asian region.” McMaster’s visits are being closely watched for clues as to the Trump administration’s future course of action in the region.

Nawaz reaffirmed his commitment to a peaceful neighbourhood and apprised the US NSA of the steps taken by Islamabad to reach out to both New Delhi and Kabul. The prime minister also conveyed Pakistan’s readiness to work with the international community to explore ways in which Afghan crisis can be resolved.

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Regarding ties with India, PM Nawaz reiterated his firm conviction on sustained dialogue and meaningful engagement as the only way forward to resolve all outstanding issues between the nuclear-armed neighbours including the Kashmir dispute.

The prime minister also welcomed President Trump’s willingness to help India and Pakistan resolve their differences particularly on Kashmir.

The US NSA also met with PM’s senior aide Sartaj Aziz. Aziz welcomed the US delegation and noted that Pakistan and the US have been close friends over decades and that a continued strong partnership between the two countries remained critical to promoting and sustaining peace and stability in the wider region.

He gave a detailed briefing on the policies being pursued by the government that have resulted in improved security environment and economic turnaround in Pakistan. On terrorism, Aziz noted that impressive gains have been made in eliminating terrorists. He further said Pakistan remained determined to continue this fight as part of the National Action Plan until terrorism is completely eliminated from the country.

He said that the government was determined to maintain the existing momentum on both security and economic fronts to lead the people of Pakistan towards a prosperous and secure future.

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Conveying Pakistan’s concerns over the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, Aziz reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to working with the international community to support efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. He also highlighted the importance of effective border management as part of the actions required to achieve sustainable peace in the region.

In reiterating Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s vision of a peaceful neighbourhood and commitment to dialogue and engagement, Aziz informed the visiting delegation of the steps taken by Pakistan to reach out to both India and Afghanistan.

Aziz was assisted by the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi, National Security Adviser Lt-Gen (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. General McMaster was assisted in the meeting by David Hale, US Ambassador, Laurel Miller, Acting US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Senior Director for South Asia Lisa Curtis and Director Pakistan Jay Wise in the National Security Council.

General McMaster thanked Aziz and acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices in combating extremism and terrorism. He renewed the commitment of the new administration to work closely with Pakistan in strengthening mutually beneficial relations and towards the shared objectives of peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.

Speaking to Afghanistan’s Tolo News on Sunday, McMaster had said “as all of us have hoped for many many years, we have hoped that Pakistani leaders will understand that it is in their interest to go after these groups less selectively than they have in the past and the best way to pursue their interest in Afghanistan and elsewhere is through diplomacy not through the use of proxies that engage in violence.”

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Abdul Awwal
    Apr 17, 2017 - 4:39PM

    “the best way to pursue their interest in Afghanistan and elsewhere is through diplomacy not through the use of proxies that engage in violence.” This sums up the purpose of the visit.Recommend

  • cool
    Apr 17, 2017 - 4:48PM

    “pursue their interest in Afghanistan and elsewhere is through diplomacy not through the use of proxies that engage in violence.”

    lol, America can apply that lesson to themselves first.Recommend

  • BrainBro
    Apr 17, 2017 - 4:59PM

    I think apart from the anti-Indian proxies, Pakistan is doing well against every other terrorist group. So matters are going in the right direction, although slowly, but surely.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Apr 17, 2017 - 5:26PM

    Mcmaster is from the American thinking breed of generals who recognise that ther former military peers made tactical errors which brought them the defeat. Perhaps it was his advice to the trumpers to allow the drop of the mother of all bombs in Afghanistan mountains. Hen is a veteran of Afghnistan and Iraq combat. Let us see how far his critique on vietnam war will go to resolve the crisis in the Korean peninsula? The young fat man means business.

    Rex Minor Recommend

  • Ali
    Apr 17, 2017 - 5:49PM

    Please tell Americans to BUILD a WALL on the Afghan side of the border. THEY control the Afghan side let them secure it for THEMSELVES.. just like the wall trump wants to build with Mexico.

    US has nothing more to give to Pakistan, USAID is going to be DEAD by October, US is not going to reimburse Pakistan for its costs in supporting terrorism… bottom line US has NO LEVERAGE against Pakistan… so it can do more on its own , we are DONE Adios BandidosRecommend

  • Tyggar
    Apr 17, 2017 - 6:36PM

    Don’t burn your bridges so soon, you will be back to begging them for a bailout when China starts squeezing you for repaymentRecommend

  • Xian
    Apr 17, 2017 - 7:56PM

    “Aziz welcomed the US delegation and noted that Pakistan and the US have been close friends over decades.”
    Is it true today?Recommend

  • scotchpak
    Apr 17, 2017 - 9:01PM

    confiscate his “large computer”Recommend

  • Shameless
    Apr 17, 2017 - 9:07PM

    With us or against us.Recommend

  • FAZ
    Apr 17, 2017 - 10:10PM

    @Rex Minor:
    Obama administration dropped what is equivalent to 3 MOAB every day. Good luck America with securing anything but sucess by bombings!Recommend

  • gp65
    Apr 18, 2017 - 4:27AM

    @Ali: Pakistan will need IMF program once again in 2018, at the rate its current account deficit is growing. It will need US support for that.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Apr 18, 2017 - 8:31AM

    He has come and gone, nature of interaction behind closed doors of course a very big secret.Recommend

  • Abdullah, Lahore
    Apr 23, 2017 - 11:41PM

    10 years ago we stood firmly with the US, today we stand firmly with the US, I wonder if we will still be standing firmly with the US after 10 years? I don’t know if their economy will be string enough to pay for our expenses. Recommend

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