US, Pakistan hold security talks amid strained ties

Coercing Pakistan will be unhelpful, Nasser Janjua tells EU Envoy for Afghanistan

Pakistan on Monday urged the U.S. to take their bilateral relationship forward during the first visit by a USA delegation since the suspension of security aid to the South Asian country over its perceived inaction against terror groups.

"The foreign secretary underscored that the relationship with the United States needed to move forward in an environment of mutual trust and respect", the Foreign Office said in a statement.

"In her meetings with Pakistani officials, Ambassador Wells underlined that the United States seeks to move toward a new relationship with Pakistan, based on our mutual interest in realising a stable and prosperous region", said a statement issued by the USA embassy.

He also accused India of using Afghan soil for carrying out hostile activities against Pakistan.

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Foreign Secretary Janjua, the statement said, drew the attention of the United States officials to the death of Pakistani soldiers last night in Indian attack on the Line of Control and urged the U.S. side to advise India not to escalate the situation and maintain restraint.

Pakistani Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan affirmed that the current campaign in Washington against his country is a strategy to turn Islamabad into a scapegoat for the Pentagon " s failure in Afghanistan.

Still, Pakistan is a crucial gateway for USA military supplies destined for U.S. and other troops fighting a 16-year-old war in Afghanistan. "The visit was part of regular engagement between these two countries on bilateral and regional cooperation", Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in an official release.

The two sides agreed that all initiatives owned and led by the Afghans for seeking a peaceful solution should be supported by the regional countries.

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He vowed the government would meet with vigour and commitment the growing challenges to Pakistan's security and towards maintaining strategic stability in the region.

The announcement came after Trump posted a message on Twitter on January 1, in which he accused Islamabad of "lies and deceit" and "giving safe haven to the terrorists" after receiving $33 billion from the USA over the last 15 years.

"The perception of India was one of the foundational divergences between Pakistan and the US".

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