US defence chief Mattis to visit Pakistan on Dec 4: Pentagon

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of Defense James Mattis will visit Pakistan on December 4, according to the Pentagon.

Mattis embarked on a five-day trip to Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, and Kuwait, the Pentagon said.

The US Secretary of Defense James Mattis will land in Pakistan on December 4 (Monday) to meet with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Bajwa for the discussion on regional security, peace, Afghan conflict and other bilateral issues.

Mattis is scheduled to meet with leaders in each nation “to re-affirm the enduring US commitment to partnerships in the Middle East, West Africa, and South Asia”, Pentagon said in a statement.

He is scheduled to meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Defense Minister Gen Sedki Sobhi.

Mattis will then go to Jordan on Sunday, where King Abdullah II will host a conference on combating extremism in West Africa. Attendees of the meeting in Jordan will include representatives from many countries in Africa and Europe.
His final stop will be in Kuwait, where he will meet with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

On November 24, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif had confirmed that US Defence Secretary James Mattis would conduct a one-day visit to the country.

Mattis had earlier visited India in September and the Pentagon said the United States views India as a valued and influential partner, with broad mutual interests extending well beyond South Asia.
In 2016, the United States designated India a “Major Defence Partner” and Trump has sought to further boost military ties, praising India for contributing to regional peace and stability and purchasing US military equipment.

Rex Tillerson visits Pakistan

On October 24, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson  said that Pakistan is important regionally to the joint Pak-US goal of providing peace and security in the region.
The statement by the US secretary of state was made during a meeting between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and other high-ranking Pakistani officials during Tillerson’s tour to South Asia and the Gulf region.
“Pakistan is important regionally to our joint goals of providing peace and security to the region and providing an opportunity for greater economic relationship,” said Tillerson.
Abbasi said that the country is committed in the war on terror and the country is looking forward to moving ahead with the US and building a tremendous relationship.
“The US can rest assured that we are strategic partners in the war against terror and that today Pakistan is fighting the largest war in the world against terror,” said Abbasi.
The US Embassy, in a statement released, said the secretary of state reiterated President Trump’s message that Pakistan must increase its efforts to “eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country”.
“The Secretary outlined the United States’ new South Asia Strategy and the vital role that Pakistan can play in working with the United States and others to facilitate a peace process in Afghanistan that can bring stability and security to the region,” said the statement from the US embassy.
During the meeting, Tillerson also expressed appreciation for Pakistan’s sacrifices in the fight against terrorism.
“The Secretary also expressed his gratitude to the Government of Pakistan and the Pakistani Army for their cooperation in securing the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity,” added the statement.