De­fense sec­re­tary mat­tis will dis­cuss ter­ror dur­ing pak visit

Trump, while un­veil­ing his Afghanistan strat­egy, had said Pak had much to lose.

The Sunday Guardian - - World - IANS

US De­fense Sec­re­tary James Mat­tis, who has said that Washington needs “to try one more time” to get Islamabad to act against ter­ror­ists, is vis­it­ing Pak­istan on Mon­day, the Pen­tagon has an­nounced.

He is plan­ning to meet Prime Min­is­ter Shahid Khaqan Ab­basi and Chief of Army Staff Gen­eral Qa­mar Javed Ba­jwa, the state­ment said.

Ter­ror­ism is ex­pected to be the cen­tre piece dur­ing their dis­cus­sions.

The visit comes at a cru­cial time in the 16-year war in Afghanistan when the US is ramp­ing up op­er­a­tions with its mil­i­tary per­son­nel ex­pected to go to the front lines as ad­vis­ers to the Afghan mil­i­tary. Pre­vent­ing ter­ror­ist at­tacks on the US troops as­sumes higher pri­or­ity.

Mat­tis will also be vis­it­ing Egypt, Jor­dan and Kuwait dur­ing the trip which seeks “to re-af­firm the en­dur­ing US com­mit­ment to part­ner­ships in the Mid­dle East, West Africa and South Asia, the Pen­tagon said.

He vis­ited In­dia in Septem­ber and held talks with De­fense Min­is­ter Nir­mala Si­tara­man on strength­en­ing se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion be­tween their coun­tries and to­gether with Afghanistan.

Speak­ing to the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee in Oc­to­ber about the prob­lem of ter­ror­ism em­a­nat­ing from Pak­istan, Mat­tis said: “We need to try one more time to make this strat­egy work with them, by, with and through the Pak­ista­nis, and if our best ef­forts fail, Pres­i­dent Trump is pre­pared to take what­ever steps are nec­es­sary.”

Asked at the meet­ing if de­mot­ing Pak­istan from the sta­tus of a ma­jor nonNato ally could be an ac­tion Washington could take, he said, “Sure, it’ll be.”

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump un­veil­ing his Afghanistan strat­egy said Pak­istan has “much to lose” if it con­tin­ued har­bour­ing ter­ror­ists.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, there are about 14,000 US ser­vice per­son­nel now in Afghanistan.

The com­man­der of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen­eral John Ni­chol­son has said that over 1,000 US sol­diers will be de­ployed on the front lines act­ing as ad­vis­ers to Afghan troops. United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil min­is­ters will meet on 15 De­cem­ber to dis­cuss North Korea’s nu­clear and mis­siles pro­grams and the body will also meet sep­a­rately this month to dis­cuss hu­man rights abuses in the North Asian coun­try, an an­nual meet­ing that its ally China has tried to pre­vent for the past three years.

Ja­pan’s UN Am­bas­sador Koro Bessho, pres­i­dent of the 15-mem­ber coun­cil for De­cem­ber, said sev­eral min­is­ters were con­firmed to at­tend the 15 De­cem­ber meet­ing. He also said the meet­ing on hu­man rights in North Korea could be held on 11 De­cem­ber.

China has un­suc­cess­fully tried to stop three pre­vi­ous hu­man rights meet­ings by call­ing a pro­ce­dural vote. A min­i­mum of nine votes are needed to win such a vote and China, Rus­sia, the United States, Bri­tain and France can­not wield their ve­toes.

This year’s meet­ing has the back­ing of nine mem­bers—the United States, France, Bri­tain, Italy, Ja­pan, Sene­gal, Swe­den, Ukraine and Uruguay. Last year, the United States an­gered North Korea by black­list­ing its leader Kim Jong Un for hu­man rights abuses.

A land­mark 2014 UN re­port on North Korean hu­man rights con­cluded that North Korean se­cu­rity chiefs—and pos­si­bly Kim him­self—should face jus­tice for over­see­ing a state-con­trolled sys­tem of Nazi-style atroc­i­ties.

Michael Kirby, chair­man of the UN Com­mis­sion of In­quiry that drew up the re­port, said at the time that the crimes the team had cat­a­loged were rem­i­nis­cent of those com­mit­ted by the Nazis dur­ing World War Two. “Some of them are strik­ingly sim­i­lar,” he told Reuters.

North Korea has re­peat­edly re­jected ac­cu­sa­tions of hu­man rights abuses and blames sanc­tions for a dire humanitarian sit­u­a­tion.

Py­ongyang has been un­der UN sanc­tions since 2006 over its bal­lis­tic mis­siles and nu­clear pro­grams.

“De­spite per­sis­tent sanc­tions and pres­sure by the US and other hos­tile forces, my gov­ern­ment con­cen­trates all its ef­forts on im­prov­ing peo­ple’s liveli­hood and pro­vid­ing them with a bet­ter fu­ture,” the North Korean Per­ma­nent Mis­sion to the United Na­tions said in a state­ment on 14 Novem­ber.


A Fiat 126p, which Pol­ish fans have bought for US ac­tor Tom Hanks as a sou­venir, is seen dur­ing load­ing on board of the LOT Pol­ish Air­lines Dream­liner to fly to Los An­ge­les in War­saw, Poland on Mon­day. REUTERS

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