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Pakistan sending envoy to meet Trump team

WASHINGTON: The prime minister’s special assistant for foreign affairs, Tariq Fatemi, is coming to the United States this weekend to meet officials of the Trump transition team.

“Besides meeting members of the transition team, Mr Fatemi will meet officials of the outgoing Obama administration,” said Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani.

US President-elect Donald Trump is scheduled to take the oath on Jan 20 but he has already set up a provisional team, encouraging foreign leaders and officials to visit his headquarters in New York for familiarisation meetings.

Mr Fatemi, who is coming on a two-week official visit, is also expected to meet some members of this team and in Washington, “he will also meet new US lawmakers elected last month,” Mr Jilani told a news briefing at the embassy.

“This is a very important visit as much has happened in Washington since the Nov 8 elections,” Mr Jilani said.

The visit follows a telephone conversation between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Mr Trump on Wednesday during which the US leader expressed his desire to continue a productive relationship with Pakistan.

The Trump-Sharif conversation has generated much int­erest in the US capital where the opposition Democrats and the media are both criticising the president-elect for “talking to foreign leaders… without consulting US officials’’.

On Thursday afternoon, the White House suggested that the State Department might have briefed Mr Trump before his call to PM Sharif.

But when a journalist asked State Department’s Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner if they had briefed Mr Trump, he said: “Not to my knowledge, no. We had no discussion with President-elect Trump prior to that call.”

He said Mr Trump had not consulted the department before calling other foreign leaders either.

At the White House, a journalist asked Press Secretary Josh Earnest if the Obama administration agreed with Mr Trump’s positive assessment of Pakistan and its leader.

“The United States’ relationship with Pakistan is one that is quite complicated,” Mr Earnest said and instead of praising Pakistan as “a fantastic country,” as Mr Trump had done, he praised the fantastic US diplomats who work at the State Department and provide the presidents with detailed briefings before talks with foreign leaders.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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