Trump meets ‘friend’ PM Imran, says will talk to Modi on Kashmir issue

DAVOS: Prime Minister Imran Khan and US President Donald Trump on Tuesday met here in the Swiss city, which is hosting the World Economic Forum 2020, alongside their delegations.

During their meeting on the sidelines of Davos 2020, PM Imran said he would talk to Trump on the situation in Afghanistan. He reiterated that Pakistan wished for peace in the region and would continue playing its role for South Asia’s stability.

On the other hand, Trump told the Pakistani premier — whom he referred to as “my friend” — that he would speak to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the ongoing Kashmir issue.

“What’s going on between Pakistan and India … if we can help, we certainly will be willing to. We have been watching it very closely and it’s an honour to be here with my friend,” he added.

PM Imran said: “Fortunately, America and Pakistan are on the same page regarding Afghanistan. Talks are being held between their government and Taliban.

“The Pakistan-India conflict is a very big issue for us in Pakistan and we expect the US to always play its part in deescalating the tensions, because no other country can,” he added.

When a reporter asked whether Trump would visit Pakistan considering he was already set to visit India, he said he was meeting the premier in Davos. “Well, we’re visiting right now. So we don’t really have to,” he added.

“I wanted to say that from a relationship standpoint, we got a great relationship. From the standpoint our two countries, we’re getting along very well. I would say we’ve never been closer with Pakistan the way we’re right now.

“And this is a big statement,” the US President added. He is expected to visit India later this month, marking his first visit after taking up his post in the White House.

At Davos 2020, Abdul Razak Dawood and Zulfi Bukhari — the prime minister’s advisers on commerce and overseas Pakistanis, respectively — were part of the delegation that met Trump.

Indo-Pak tensions, offer to ‘mediate’ Kashmir issue

The last time Trump and PM Imran had met, in 2019, the former had said he would “mediate” to solve the Kashmir issue, kicking up a frenzy in India.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have ratcheted up over the last two years, with the countries almost going to war in February 2019 when New Delhi’s fighter planes bombed Balakot in response to the Pulwama attack.

Pakistan retaliated befittingly on Feb 27 by downing two Indian jets and capturing IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was released after being held captive for two days as a “gesture of peace” by PM Imran towards India.

Months after that, India on August 5, 2019, revoked Article 370 of its Constitution — which gave a special status to occupied Kashmir — and sparked anger in Pakistan, with Islamabad cutting off diplomatic ties with New Delhi.

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