US President Donald Trump on Wednesday told his Cabinet colleagues that he has ended USD 1.3 billion in aid to Pakistan because "this South Asian country houses enemies". Trump, during a meeting further said he wants a ‘great relationship’ with Pakistan and is looking forward to meeting the new leadership in that country.
A meeting with the new leadership of Pakistan will take place "very soon", the US president said and underscored that his administration has initiated peace talks with the Taliban.
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Earlier, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham, who is considered close to President Trump, in an interview had said that if Pakistan helped the US in bringing the Taliban to the table for negotiations, then the US would focus on counterterrorism and the IS.
The Republican Senator wants the US to offer Pakistan a free trade agreement as an incentive for Islamabad to push the Taliban to the peace table to end the Afghan war.
Pakistan has not been fair to the United States, Trump alleged.
"We want to have a great relationship with Pakistan, but they house the enemy. They take care of the enemy. We just can't do that," Trump said.
"So, I look forward to meeting with the new leadership in Pakistan. We will be doing that in the not too distant future. But I ended USD 1.3 billion that we paid. I think it was water, we were just paying to Pakistan. So, I ended that," he said.
Imran Khan, who was sworn in as Pakistan's Prime Minister in August 2017 had said in January last year that meeting US President Trump would be a "bitter pill" to swallow should he become Pakistan's prime minister in elections later that year but added "I would meet him."
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had met Prime Minister Khan in Islamabad in September last year and pressed him to take "sustained and decisive measures" against terrorists threatening the regional peace and stability.
Trump, in a letter to Khan had sought Pakistan's help with stuttering Afghan peace talks and support in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table to end the 17-year brutal war in the neighbouring country.