Pompeo hopeful to find common ground with new government in Islamabad

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said he was hopeful to find a common ground for working with the new government in Islamabad in order to improve relations between the US and Pakistan.
Talking to media representatives travelling with him to Pakistan, Pompeo said he was visiting Pakistan to reset bilateral relations.
“First stop Pakistan; a new leader there. I wanted to get out there at the beginning of his [Khan’s] time in an effort to reset the relationship between the two countries,” he said in his opening statement.
“We have worked closely with the Pakistanis in my role as CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] director. Our teams have been working together for a long time. There are lots of challenges between our two nations for sure, but we’re hopeful that with the new leadership, we can find common ground and begin to work on some of our shared problems together,” he added.
Pompeo, who reaches Islamabad later today, said the new Pakistani government has expressed good-faith intention to improve bilateral ties.
He said he was going to Islamabad with the US military chief Gen Joseph Dunford to have discussions with Pakistani authorities.
“We’ll also meet with General Bajwa, who we both know, who I’ve met with a number of times, as well as my counterpart, Foreign Minister [Shah Mehmood] Qureshi,” he said.
“So we’ll have three opportunities to walk through the complexity that is this relationship and hopefully begin to make some progress so that we can get back to a set of common understandings,” said Pompeo while referring to a possible meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“So, that’s really the very straightforward objective. I think it’s important to meet the new prime minister, Prime Minister Khan, early on in his time in office,” he said.
A journalist reminded the Secretary of State that his trip comes right after the announcement that the US was cutting $300 million in military aid to Pakistan.
“What do you think of that as a start-off point for this new relationship that you’re trying to build?” Pompeo was asked.
“Look, this wasn’t news to the Pakistanis. It made a lot of headlines over the last few days … but they were told this past summer that they weren’t likely to get that money,” Pompeo recalled.
“And the rationale for them not getting the money is very clear. It’s that we haven’t seen the progress that we need to see from them.”