Govt to ‘bury’ Imran-Pompeo phone call transcript: report

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ISLAMABAD: The United States has sent the transcript of the telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pakistan. The transcript details all that was discussed during the talk, local media reports quoted diplomatic sources as saying on Tuesday.

According to the sources, the transcript had ‘embarrassed’ the government who had challenged the contents released by the US State Department.

The State Department issued a statement which read: “Secretary Pompeo raised the importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists operating in Pakistan and its vital role in promoting the Afghan peace process.”

Pakistan rejected the statement as ‘factually incorrect’ and urged the US not to twist the facts. The US is yet to issue an official clarification or withdraw the State Department release.

However, the US in response sent the transcript to Pakistan, sans comments, to ‘satisfy’ Islamabad that the State department’s release was not ‘incorrect.’

Senior officials at the Foreign Ministry said that Islamabad had decided not to take the issue further and create further misunderstandings. Hence, it has planned to bury it ahead of Pompeo’s September 5 visit.

Another official revealed that the Foreign Ministry had proposed that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi should speak to Mike Pompeo as contacting the PM directly was a violation of the diplomatic protocol. However, they were asked to allow Pompeo to talk to the PM. Nonetheless the ministry hopes that they will not release the details and keep it to congratulatory call.

Pak-US ties have been tense for several months. In January, the US suspended security assistance to Pakistan targeting the Coalition Support Fund. State Department said the US was suspending ‘security assistance’ to Pakistan as the trust level between the two countries drastically declined. Washington said Pakistan will be able to receive the suspended funding if it took ‘decisive actions’ against the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban.

Pakistan claimed it fought the war against terrorism largely from its own resources and the money it had received from the US was mainly reimbursements for supporting US-led coalition forces after they invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

In May, the two countries also imposed travel restrictions on each other’s diplomats in May.

Foreign Minister Qureshi on Tuesday said that Pakistan desired to improve bilateral relations with the US.

Responding to PPP leader Raza Rabbani in the Senate regarding the telephonic conversation held between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Mike Pompeo, Qureshi insisted that the handout of the US State Department regarding telephonic conservation was “contrary to the facts,” asserting that the conservation was “cordial and constructive.”