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3:11 pm - Monday November 24, 4679

US will end terrorism with or without Pakistan: Tillerson

Agencies, Washington

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that he did not visit Islamabad earlier this week to lecture or coerce Pakistanis but he did tell them that Washington was determined to eradicate terrorism from the region with their support or “in a different way”. “And that’s not a threat. It’s just a matter of fact. We have to deal with the conditions on the ground.

And as you know, the entire South Asia strategy is a conditions-based strategy,” he said, according to the media reports. Mr Tillerson said the message he delivered to Pakistan during the visit was: “Here’s what we need for Pakistan to do. We’re asking you to do this; we’re not demanding anything. You’re a sovereign country.

You’ll decide what you want to do.” On Thursday evening, Secretary Tillerson reviewed his seven-day visit to Europe, the Middle East and South Asia with the State Department press corps from Geneva, also highlighting key points of his talks in Islamabad on Tuesday.

He said he had offered to help Pakistan resolve its disputes with India, a suggestion that may irk New Delhi, which opposes any third-party mediations with Pakistan. “That would be a complete mischaracterisation of the meeting,” said the top US diplomat when a journalist asked him if it would be accurate to say that he received a message of defiance from the Pakistanis who told him, “We will not be coerced”.

But he acknowledged that he told them Washington would implement its new strategy with or without Islamabad because “this is what we think is necessary. And if you don’t want to do that, don’t feel you can do it, we’ll adjust our tactics and our strategies to achieve the same objective a different way”.

Secretary Tillerson said he viewed US-Pakistan ties as “a respectful relationship” but, “we have some very legitimate tasks, some very legitimate concerns that we need their help addressing. I said to them, ‘You can do it or you can decide not to do it. And if you decide you don’t want to do it, just let us know.

We’ll adjust our plans accordingly and we’ll deal with it ourselves’ ”. Mr Tillerson said he also explained President Donald Trump’s new strategy for South Asia in his discussions with Afghans, Pakistanis and Indian leaders, which requires the involvement of regional players — particularly India and Pakistan — for restoring peace and stability to Afghanistan, the media reports said.

Posted in: World

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