US, Pakistan dispute whether Mike Pompeo talked terror with Imran Khan | News | DW | 24.08.2018
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US, Pakistan dispute whether Mike Pompeo talked terror with Imran Khan

A congratulatory phone call made by US Secretary of State Pompeo to newly elected Pakistani Prime Minister Khan has started a diplomatic tiff. The countries offered conflicting accounts of what the pair discussed.

Pakistan on Friday accused the United States of misrepresenting a phone call between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and new Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The US State Department described the call as "good," with both men expressing a willingness to strengthen bilateral relations. It also said Pompeo "raised the importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists" operating in the country.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry, however, rejected that account as "factually inaccurate" and demanded it be "immediately corrected."

"There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal said on Twitter.  

Read moreOpinion — Imran Khan's dangerous victory

Washington sticks to its story

The US regularly accuses Pakistan of harboring militants from the Taliban and other groups who stage attacks in neighboring Afghanistan. Islamabad, for its part, denies that the Taliban operates from safe havens on its soil. 

The US State Department said it would not issue a correction.

"I can only say we stand by our readout [of the phone call]," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, calling Pakistan "an important partner" in the region.
Read moreIs the US bypassing Pakistan for new Taliban strategy?

The dispute comes ahead of a planned visit by Pompeo to Islamabad in September. He is expected to be the first foreign dignitary to meet with Khan since his swearing in as prime minister last week.

nm/sms (AP, Reuters)

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