Published: Mon, December 04, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

US Defence Secretary Mattis to visit Pakistan on Monday

US Defence Secretary Mattis to visit Pakistan on Monday

United States officials have always been frustrated by what they see as Pakistan's reluctance to act against groups such as the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network that they believe exploit safe haven on Pakistani soil to launch attacks on neighbouring Afghanistan.

The US wants Pakistan to act in "its best interest" and take action against terror safe havens, US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis said today, ahead of his first visit to Islamabad as America's Defence Secretary. Trump while announcing the strategy had criticised Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists. "I believe that we work hard on finding the common ground and then we work together".

During his visit to Pakistan, the USA secretary of defence will meet with Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, according to the statement, and seek support for defeating militants. The Trump Administration had said his release belies Pakistan's claim that it is not a sanctuary for terrorists.

In his response, Mattis said, "That's not the way I deal with issues".

He said Pakistani leaders went to Kabul and met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

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"We're hoping to see those changes", he said.

The White House, meanwhile, condemned Pakistan's release late last month of a US -wanted militant as a "step in the wrong direction" and warned that it could harm Islamabad's relations with America and its reputation around the world.

Egypt is among one of top recipients of US military assistance, receiving almost $1.3 billion annually as well as $250 million in economic aid. He said Pakistan had wiped out militant hideouts with little help from the U.S.

Mattis will begin his engagements with a visit to Egypt tomorrow, where he will meet with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Defense Minister Gen. Sedki Sobhi.

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