U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
September 4, 2018
SECRETARY POMPEO: So just a couple things. So first stop Pakistan, a new leader there. I wanted to get out there at the beginning of his time in an effort to reset the relationship between the two countries. We have worked closely with the Pakistanis in my role as CIA director. Our teams have been working together for a long time. There are lots of challenges between our two nations for sure, but we’re hopeful that with new leadership that we can find common ground and begin to work on some of our shared problems together. They have expressed good-faith intention to do so.
Chairman Dunford and I are heading out there together to have those conversations. We’ll also meet with General Bajwa, who we both know, who I’ve met with a number of times, as well as my counterpart, Foreign Minister Qureshi. So we’ll have three opportunities to walk through the complexity that is this relationship and hopefully begin to make some progress so that we can get back to a set of common understandings. So that’s really the very straightforward objective. I think it’s important to meet the new prime minister, Prime Minister Khan, early on in his time in office.
And then on to India, where we have now twice had to postpone this incredibly important meeting. I regret it was my fault the second time. I had to travel to Pyongyang. But Secretary Mattis and I are both looking forward to this. We have a true strategic partner who, frankly, is our only major defense partner, right, the only designated major defense partner, with whom we have a great relationship and who is very important to our success in our Indo-Pacific strategy – enormous country with incredibly opportunity and capacity for wealth creation. We hope we can find opportunities to continue to expand the relationship not only diplomatic and military-to-military but a good set of business relationships as well.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. Look, this wasn’t news to the Pakistanis. It made a lot of headlines over the last few days because of the formality (inaudible), but they were told this past summer that they weren’t likely to get that money. And the rationale for them not getting the money is very clear. It’s that we haven’t seen the progress that we need to see from them. And the very reason for this trip is to try and articulate what it is our expectation is, the things that they can do, the things that they expect us to do, and see if we can’t find a path forward together.
So look, I think there’s a new government. This – most of this took place long before the prime minister was in power, and I’m hoping we can turn the page and begin to make progress. But there are real expectations. We need Pakistan to seriously engage to help us get to the reconciliation we need in Afghanistan. Without their assistance, without their help, you’ve heard General Nicholson and General Miller both – the incoming and outgoing commanders – they’ve both talked about this. They are – they have important interests, security interests in Afghanistan to make sure they get the issues at their border right, and we need their help.
And so I’m hopeful we can convince them to provide that assistance because they will acknowledge – and indeed in my conversation with the prime minister – acknowledge peace in Afghanistan is – I think he said they’re the number one or number two advocate for reconciliation in Afghanistan. I said I think we’re number three – all of us wanting that. So we have a shared goal there. I hope we can find a way to achieve it together.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, I have two new folks traveling with us, a new P who’s coming back to the place he served as ambassador just a handful of days ago and Ambassador Khalilzad. Ambassador Khalilzad’s going to join the State Department team to assist us on the reconciliation effort, so he will come on and be the State Department’s lead person for that purpose.