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.
Pakistan among the few countries to successfully turn tide against terrorism: Imran
Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the country condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including state-terrorism against people under illegal occupation. The PM stated that Pakistan is “among the few countries to have successfully turned the tide against terrorism”.
Addressing the 19th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit at Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Khan reiterated that Pakistan is ready to share its experience and expertise in counter-terrorism. He added that growing intolerance and Islamophobia are threatening to accentuate religious fault-lines. He further said that Pakistan will remain actively engaged in SCO’s counter-terrorism initiatives.
Speaking on Afghanistan, PM Khan said that “the conflict in Afghanistan has no military solution”, adding that Pakistan is fully supporting efforts for “peace and reconciliation, through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process”.
“Excellencies, The world stands at a crossroads. For the first time in ages, we are seeing the advent of a multi-polar global order. Epicentres of economic power and growth momentum are shifting eastwards. Regional integration is speeding up. Disruptive technologies are maturing. Threats from terrorism to climate change to narcotics to bacterial resistance continue to loom large,” said PM Khan.
“There are increasing barriers to open trade and innovation. Meanwhile, growing intolerance and Islamophobia are threatening to accentuate religious fault-lines. For its part, Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including State-terrorism against people under illegal occupation. We are among the few countries to have successfully turned the tide against terrorism,” added the Pakistan PM.
“Pakistan remains ready to share its experience and expertise in counter-terrorism. We will also remain actively engaged in SCO’s counter-terrorism initiatives. Excellencies, There is finally a realization that the conflict in Afghanistan has no military solution. Pakistan is fully supporting efforts for peace and reconciliation, through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process,” further said Pakistan PM Khan.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reiterated India’s strong stand against terrorism and appealed that countries supporting, aiding and funding terrorism must be held accountable. PM Modi highlighted the spirit and ideals of SCO to strengthen cooperation in the fight against terrorism even as Khan looked on.
Without naming Pakistan, a country that has made state-sponsored terrorism its biggest policy to counter India for the last several decades, PM Modi said every country needs to come together, unite and fight against the scourge.
Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Moscow: Vladimir Putin has said Russia will fight for an independent Palestinian state, and called for the issues of the Middle East to be resolved through peaceful means.
Despite international criticism over Russia’s own role in the Ukrainian crisis, Mr Putin was hailed last week by a St Petersburg Cossack group for his ability to “bring order and stop wars”.
In an address to the Arab League summit in Egypt on Saturday, Putin spoke against foreign intervention in countries’ internal disputes and spoke of the role Russia can play in diplomatic channels.
While Russia openly opposes the stance of US-backed Israel on the Gaza crisis, its position in the Middle East is complicated. Putin is one of Iran’s key allies, but as he spoke on Saturday the core nations of the Arab League engaged in air strikes on the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
His attempts to urge a peaceful solution in Yemen haven’t had much of an immediate impact – on Sunday, the Arab League agreed to the creation of a joint military forces comprised of around 40,000 elite troops to resolve the future “challenges” of the Middle East.
As one of the “Quartet” entities involved in Middle East peace negotiations, Russia has played a key role in talks about the fallout of last year’s Gaza crisis.
He told the summit this weekend: “Palestinians have the right to establish an independent and habitable state with a capital in East Jerusalem.
“Russia will continue to contribute to achieving this goal through bilateral and multilateral channels,” he said.
Trump claims Queen had fun with him during his UK visit
Washington: US President Donald Trump claimed that Britain
s Queen Elizabeth II had more fun during his state visit to the UK than in the last 25 years."I have such a great relationship, and we were laughing and having fun. And her people said she hasnt had so much fun in 25 years. Then I got criticized for it because they said we were having too much fun,” the Hill quoted Trump as saying.
Trump`s comments come two weeks after his first state visit to London to meet the 93-year-old monarch. During his three-day visit, the president dined with the Queen, members of the British royal family and other British politicians at Buckingham Palace.
Trump and the queen reaffirmed the importance of the Washington-London relationship during an elaborate state banquet.”On behalf of all Americans I offer a toast to the eternal friendship of our people, the vitality of our nations and to the long cherished and truly remarkable reign of her majesty, the queen,” Trump said in his toast during the event.
He also met Prime Minister Theresa May. Opposing Trump
s visit, thousands of people hit the streets. TheTrump Baby` blimp was flown by the demonstrators outside the Houses of Parliament, according to CNN, alongside a 16-foot robot version of Trump sitting on the toilet and tweeting.
Other activists came dressed as gorillas, with signs reading that they “only eat chlorinated chicken” — a nod to concerns in Britain that a post-Brexit trade deal with the US would mean a decline in food standards for imported produce.