Pak Foreign Minister Qureshi assures US about firm steps against terror

Pak Foreign Minister Qureshi assures US about firm steps against terror

Agency News

Washington, Mar 12: Under intense global pressure to deliver on terror front, Pakistan has assured the United States that it will deal firmly with all terrorists and take steps to de-escalate tension with India.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi gave his assurance to this effect in telephonic talks with the US National Security Advisor John Bolton. "Spoke with Pakistani FM Qureshi to encourage meaningful steps against JeM and other terrorist groups operating from Pakistan. The FM assured me that Pakistan would deal firmly with all terrorists and will continue steps to deescalate tensions with India," Mr Bolton tweeted.

Interestingly, Mr Bolton's tele call with Mr Qureshi came when the UNSC is likely to take up the proposal of the US, UK and France to designate JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale is already in Washington and is holding key parleys with top US brass in security establishment. Mr Gokhale also met the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Monday during his first day of the three-day official visit.

State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said - "Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Secretary Gokhale discussed the importance of bringing those responsible for the (Pulwama) attack to justice and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil".

Meanwhile, in a statement, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said on Monday that during tele talks, Mr Qureshi informed Mr Bolton that Islamabad "wished peace and stability" in the region.

Mr Qureshi informed Mr Bolton "about the de-escalatory measures taken by Pakistan", the Pak statement said. Tension escalated in the region after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14.

Indian Air Force carried out a counter-terror operation on February 26 targeting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot in Pakistan. The next day, Pakistan Air Force tried to target India's military installations but the attempts were foiled by Indian side.

According to an MEA statement, Mr Pompeo and Foreign Secretary Gokhale "agreed that those who support or abet terrorism in any form should be held accountable".

Both key representatives in foreign and strategic matters also discussed other issues of mutual interest including Afghanistan and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, and agreed to closely work together in this regard.

Meanwhile, according to media reports in the US, Mr Pompeo also expressed hope that India will support the American efforts in Venezuela by not purchasing oil from the Maduro regime.

"We are asking the same thing of India as we are of every country: Do not be the economic lifeline for the Maduro regime. So we talked about (Venezuela) I certainly won't characterize the conversations; they're private conversations," Pompeo told reporters in response to a question.

"In the same way that India has been incredibly supportive of our efforts in Iran, I am confident that they too understand the real threat to the Venezuelan people. We had a good conversation around that," Mr Pompeo said.UNI