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White House confirms July 22 meeting between PM Imran, US President Trump

The White House on Wednesday confirmed that Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet US President Donald J. Trump on July 22.

According to a press release issued by the White House, the US president will welcome the prime minister.

The confirmation came amidst confusion over if the meeting would actually happen.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal had issued a tweet to address questions about the certainty of the visit.

“We wish to caution against speculation about the prime minister’s visit. We are in close contact with the US side. As per practice, formal announcements are made at the appropriate time,” he had said

The FO spokesperson’s remark had come after a section of the media reported that the US State Department had expressed its ignorance of the visit, which had cast doubt over whether the meeting was actually happening.

“The visit will focus on strengthening cooperation between the US and Pakistan to bring peace, stability and economic prosperity to a region that has seen far too much conflict,” read the release, issued on Wednesday by the White House.

“President Trump and PM Imran will discuss a range of issues, including counterterrorism, defense, energy and trade, with the goal of creating the conditions for a peaceful South Asia and an enduring partnership between our two countries,” the statement added.

This will be Imran Khan’s first visit to the US since assuming power last year following PTI’s victory in the general elections.

The FO reiterated in a subsequent statement that the premier will visit the US from July 21 to 23 on the invitation of US President Trump.

During the visit, it said, the prime minister will also be meeting prominent members of the US Congress, corporate leaders and opinion makers as well as members of the Pakistani diaspora.

According to the statement, the prime minister will outline his vision of “Naya Pakistan”.

“In the regional context, the prime minister will underscore Pakistan’s commitment to peace and stability and the importance of constructive engagement to promote a political solution in Afghanistan.”

“He will also highlight Pakistan’s policy of ‘peaceful neighbourhood’ aimed at resolving disputes through dialogue and promoting the vision of peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia and beyond,” it added.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had told reporters last month that President Trump had invited the prime minister in June but he could not undertake the visit because of the budget session.

The foreign minister had also said that talks between the two leaders would focus on “important regional matters”. Pakistan has helped the United States in jump-starting the ongoing US-Taliban dialogue.

Earlier on January 3, Trump had told a cabinet meeting that he wanted “to have a great relationship with Pakistan, but they house the enemy, they take care of the enemy”.

“We just can’t do that. So, I look forward to meeting with the folks from — and the new leadership in Pakistan, we’ll be doing that in the not-too-distant future,” he had said.

Then in March, Trump had said he hoped to meet Pakistani leaders soon as he acknowledged that relations between the two countries are “now very good”.

“Pakistan — we’ll be meeting with Pakistan [leadership]. I think our relationship right now is very good with Pakistan,” he had said

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