Defense secretary mattis will discuss terror during pak visit
Trump, while unveiling his Afghanistan strategy, had said Pak had much to lose.
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