US Defence Secy Mattis to visit Pakistan; heres whats on agenda

Emmanuel Macron | AP

Defense Secretary James Mattis left Friday to travel to the Middle East and Africa to "reaffirm the enduring US commitment to partnerships", according to the Pentagon.

During his Pakistan visit, Mattis is expected to meet Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.

His final stop will be in Kuwait Tuesday, where he will meet with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

The December tour of Mattis is pivotal in the backdrop of US President Donald Trump's "harsh" South-Asia policy announced in August that virtually accused Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists, despite Islamabad's consistent denials.

Also discussing ways to improve U.S. -Egypt partnership in the defense sector, the duo agreed on the need to increase worldwide efforts to eradicate terrorism resources, and to find a political resolution to the crises in the Middle East, the statement said.

Last month, United States Central Command (Centcom) Commander Gen Joseph Votel visited Pakistan, where he held a series of meetings with Pakistani civil and military leadership.

The US is also outraged at the release of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed from house arrest in Pakistan.

"A clear global consensus exists regarding Saeed's culpability-he was designated by the United Nations under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008".

The Trump Administration had said his release belies Pakistan's claim that it is not a sanctuary for terrorists.

Pakistan and the USA have been unable to bridge their differences despite a series of high-level meetings in the wake of President Donald Trump's speech bitterly criticizing Pakistan for allegedly housing the very terrorists Americans are fighting in Afghanistan.

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