ISLAMABAD : Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet US President Donald Trump on July 22 at the White House during his maiden visit to the United States, which, the foreign office said, is meant to reset bilateral ties between the two countries.
“On the invitation of US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Washington and hold a meeting with President Trump on July 22, 2019,” Foreign office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal confirmed on Thursday at the weekly news conference.
“Agenda of the meeting is being developed through diplomatic channels. A detailed curtain raiser will be issued before the visit. The focus would be to refresh the bilateral relationship,” Faisal added.
This will be Imran Khan’s first visit to the US since he became prime minister after his party won the last year’s general elections. The visit is seen a significant given the fact that this would be the first high-level interaction between the two countries during the tenure of President Trump.
Diplomatic sources said the visit was finalised after hectic behind the scene efforts by the two sides through diplomatic channels. Observers believe that Trump’s willingness to meet Imran Khan suggests that the two sides might have made forward movement on certain issues particularly Afghanistan.
Trump has been critical of Pakistan’s role in the fight against terrorism especially Islamabad’s role in Afghanistan. His administration has suspended security and other assistance to Pakistan, accusing it of ‘lies and deceit.’
Trump and Imran even had a war of words on Twitter few months back over Pakistan’s role in fighting terrorism. But a flurry of exchanges between the two countries appear to have eased friction and paved the way for much anticipated summit meeting between Trump and Imran.
Officials said the PM would share his perspective on the Afghan endgame as well as how to build trust between the two countries. Faisal said there was an acknowledgement of Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan by the US. “They have acknowledged our position and we will continue our efforts in this regard.”
Just ahead of the prime minister’s visit, the US recently declared Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) a global terrorist organisation. The BLA has been behind a number of terrorist attacks in Balochistan province. Pakistan proscribed the BLA back in 2006 and urged other countries to do the same. The latest move by the US, according to Pakistan, would help shrink space for the terrorist outfit to operate.