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UNSC must step up pressure on Pakistan to change its behaviour: US

January 19, 2018

United Nations :US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Thursday that the UN Security Council should step up pressure on Pakistan to “change its behaviour”.

Briefing reporters after returning from a UN Security Council visit to Afghanistan, she said Kabul has asked the 15-member powerful wing of the world body to step up pressure on Pakistan.

“They did ask us for consensus to put further pressure on Pakistan to come to the table and change their behaviour,” Haley said.

She said the Afghan government “continue to make 10 steps forward, and with Pakistan, they feel like they continue to take steps backwards.”

The Kabul visit of the Security Council members comes ahead of the Kabul Process meeting next month where the Afghan government is expected to present its strategy for reaching a settlement with the armed opposition.

Haley said the Afghan government is starting to see the Taliban concede, they are starting to see them move towards coming to the table.

But her country has conveyed to Pakistan that it will continue funding the component of the aid which allows for military training despite the suspension of the security assistance package, media reports said on Thursday.

Pakistan’s foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua informed the Senate’s foreign affairs committee on Wednesday that the US will keep funding the aid components that support their national interest, including the International Military Education and Training (IMET) part, Dawn reported.

The IMET programme, which focuses on military education, is meant to establish a rapport between the US military and the recipient country’s military for building alliances for the future.

Pakistan’s army officers have been trained in the US at a cost of $52 million over the past 15 years and an allocation of another $4 million has been made for the current year under this programme.

While the IMET would continue, the US has frozen the aid provided under the programmes that are more important to Pakistan, particularly the Foreign Military Financing (FMF). The recipients of FMF can use the funds under this programme for procurement of defence hardware produced by the US.

Foreign minister Khawaja Asif, while briefing the lawmakers on the current state of Pakistan’s ties with the US, said the relationship was not going “very smooth” and problems were persisting. He said the US was trying to shift the blame to Pakistan for its failures in Afghanistan.

“We have to stand up to those who accuse us of harbouring terrorists,” he remarked.

The US says that the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani networks that target American troops inside Afghanistan are allowed to take shelter in Pakistan. Pakistan denies this and, in turn, accuses the US of ignoring its vast sacrifices – casualties have numbered in the tens of thousands – in fighting terrorism.

Early this month, the US froze nearly $2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan arguing that Islamabad is not taking any decisive action against terrorists operating from its soil.

The White House said it stood President Donald Trump’s comment that Pakistan had given the US nothing but “lies and deceit” in return for $33-billion aid.

“Yes,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference on Wednesday when asked if she stands by the comments the president made in the tweet.

“Our position is firm: that we believe that withdrawing that aid is important,” Sanders told reporters in response to another question.

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