Washington, Aug 22 (EFE).- The United States will make future military aid to Pakistan contingent on Islamabad’s adopting a “different approach” toward dealing with Afghanistan’s Taliban movement, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday.
His comment came in response to a reporter’s question about the new Afghanistan strategy announced Monday night by President Donald Trump, the third chief executive to oversee what has become the longest war in US history.
In his speech, the president criticized nuclear-armed Pakistan for providing “safe havens” for members of the Taliban, which was founded more than 20 years ago with support from the Pakistani government.
The secretary spoke along similar lines during Tuesday’s press conference at the State Department.
“Pakistan and the US historically had very good relationships, but over the last few years there has been a real erosion in the confidence between our two governments,” Tillerson said.
“There’s been an erosion in trust because we have witnessed terrorist organizations being given a safe haven inside of Pakistan to plan and carry out attacks against U.S. servicemen, U.S. officials, disrupting peace efforts inside of Afghanistan,” he said.
Tillerson said that Washington wanted to see Pakistan take a harder line toward insurgents who seek refuge on its territory.
The Pakistani government could also be helpful in persuading Taliban leaders to take part in peace talks with the Afghan administration, the secretary said.
“We are going to be conditioning our support for Pakistan and our relationship with them on them delivering results in this area. We want to work with Pakistan in a positive way, but they must change their approach,” Tillerson said.
Pakistan, in a statement drafted after Trump’s speech but prior to the Tillerson press conference, reacted sharply to the US criticism.
“No country in the world has suffered more than Pakistan from the scourge of terrorism, often perpetrated from outside our borders. It is, therefore disappointing that the US policy statement ignores the enormous sacrifices rendered by the Pakistani nation in this effort,” the foreign ministry said.
The statement also discounted the possibility of a purely military solution in Afghanistan, where the Taliban controls roughly 40 percent of the national territory nearly 16 years their government was toppled by the US invasion of October 2001.
“Only an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned politically negotiated solution can lead to sustainable peace in Afghanistan,” the Pakistani foreign ministry said.
US secretary of state sees changed attitude in North Korea, hope for dialogue
Washington, Aug 22 (EFE).- US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday he was pleased by the restraint shown in recent days by the North Korean regime and hoped this will be the start of a different attitude in Pyongyang that could lead to a bilateral dialogue.
“I’m pleased to see that the regime in Pyongyang has certainly demonstrated some level of restraint,” Tillerson told a press conference.
The US secretary of state observed there have been no missile launches nor provocative acts by North Korea since the unanimous adoption in early August of the UN Security Council resolution to cut off some of Pyongyang’s exports.
The head of US diplomacy said “we hope that this is the beginning of this signal that we’ve been looking for – that they are ready to restrain their level of tensions, they’re ready to restrain their provocative acts, and that perhaps we are seeing our pathway to sometime in the near future having some dialogue,” though Washington has “to see more on their part, but I want to acknowledge the steps they’ve taken thus far.”
Tillerson’s remarks came after the US Treasury Department said Tuesday it was imposing economic sanctions on more than a dozen Chinese and Russian individuals and firms for doing business with North Korea’s government.
“It is unacceptable for individuals and companies in China, Russia, and elsewhere to enable North Korea to generate income used to develop weapons of mass destruction and destabilize the region,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
Tensions escalated between the United States and North Korea this month when Pyongyang threatened to attack the American territory of Guam after the UN sanctioned Pyongyang for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles, and US President Donald Trump promised “fire and fury” in return.
The tensions eased after Trump’s threat, but may escalate again as Seoul and Washington go forward with joint military maneuvers with some 67,000 soldiers on the Korean peninsula.
Nonetheless, the Donald Trump government has already had back-channel talks with the North Korean regime, a discreet dialogue the began in Oslo in May 2017, according to the investigator and expert in the region, Susan DiMaggio, who arranged the contacts.
Trump has repeatedly said that China, the only major go-between with the North Korean regime, needs to exert more pressure on Pyongyang.