Headway in Taliban talks may lead to PM Imran, Trump meeting: FM Qureshi

Updated May 18, 2019

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says progress in Taliban-US talks will create a "favourable environment" for meeting of both leaders. — AFP/File
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says progress in Taliban-US talks will create a "favourable environment" for meeting of both leaders. — AFP/File

A meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and United States President Donald Trump might take place after some progress in the ongoing US-Taliban peace talks, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told Urdu News.

In an interview with the news outlet on Friday, Qureshi said that "progress in the ongoing talks in Doha will establish a ground for a meeting between Prime Minister Imran and US President Trump".

When asked if a headway in the talks was a precondition for meeting between the two leaders, the foreign minister said: "[Don't call it] a condition but I think that the environment [for the meeting] will be more favourable if the talks move forward."

"Both [PM Imran and President Trump] are important personalities, [and both are] deeply interested in [establishing] peace and stability in the region," he added.

"There has been progress [in establishing peace and stability in the region] and [US-Taliban] talks are underway in Doha. There are chances of further progress in talks [that] can lead to a new opening in our [Pak-US] bilateral relations."

Qureshi also talked about relations with Tehran and said that "some powers keep trying to create misunderstandings between Pakistan and Iran in order to fulfil their own agendas".

"Whenever attempts are made [to create misunderstandings between the two sides], Pakistan and Iran defuse them through bilateral talks on the level of security and intelligence agencies," he said.

He added that: "These are the powers who consider Iran a threat for the region and want to degrade it [in the region]."

When asked if he was pointing towards the US, the foreign minister said he would not name anyone.

Referring to security threats being faced by Saudi Arabia, Qureshi said, "Pakistan had stood by [the kingdom] whenever it was threatened and will continue to do so".

The foreign minister further said that a Pakistani delegation is currently in China to brief the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) over the steps taken by Pakistan to curb terror financing and money laundering. He expressed hope that the body will remove Pakistan from its so-called 'grey list' when the FATF meeting will be held in June.

Addressing the visa sanctions that Washington had imposed on three government officials earlier this week due to a row over repatriation of deportees, Qureshi said that the restrictions were "temporary".

"We have resolved the deportation issue to a large extent and this temporary restriction [over visas] will also end soon."