WASHINGTON: The United States is prepared to partner with Pakistan to defeat terrorist organizations seeking safe haven, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrote in an op-ed published in the New York Times on Wednesday, adding that Islamabad must demonstrate its desire to partner with the US.
In the article titled “I Am Proud of Our Diplomacy,” Secretary Tillerson gave an overview of US diplomacy since the Trump Administration took over in January and how the administration was dealing with issues on the foreign policy front.
Describing defeating terrorism as one of the president’s highest priorities, Secretary Tillerson said that the administration’s aggressive strategy to counter the Islamic State delegates greater authority to American military commanders on the battlefield, giving American forces more freedom and speed to do what they do best, in partnership with indigenous fighting forces.
“As a result, the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS has accelerated operations and has recaptured virtually all of previously held Islamic State territory in Iraq and Syria,” he said.
The Secretary said that a commitment to stopping Islamist terrorism and extremism also motivated the administration’s decision to adopt a new South Asia strategy, which focuses on Afghanistan. “That country (Afghanistan) cannot become a safe haven for terrorists, as it was in the days before the Sept. 11 attacks,” he wrote.
Secretary Tillerson observed that Pakistan “must contribute by combating terrorist groups on its own soil. We are prepared to partner with Pakistan to defeat terrorist organizations seeking safe havens, but Pakistan must demonstrate its desire to partner with us”.
He described the Iran nuclear deal as “flawed” and said that it was no longer the focal point of US policy towards Tehran. “We are now confronting the totality of Iranian threats,” he said while adding that tart of this strategy entails rebuilding alliances with our partners in the Middle East.
Secretary Tillerson said that in November, the US helped re-establish diplomatic ties between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. “We will continue to work with our allies and with Congress to explore options for addressing the nuclear deal’s many flaws, while building a like-minded effort to punish Iran for its violations of ballistic missile commitments and its destabilizing activities in the region.”
Secretary Tillerson who, several media reports in the past had suggested to be facing tough time, said that Americans should be encouraged by the progress the State Department and United States Agency for International Development have made in pushing for global peace and stability.
He described relations with Russia as poor saying that “we have no illusions about the regime we are dealing with”. “The United States today has a poor relationship with a resurgent Russia that has invaded its neighbors Georgia and Ukraine in the last decade and undermined the sovereignty of Western nations by meddling in our election and others,” he added”.
However, he said that while the US is on guard against Russian aggression, “we recognize the need to work with Russia where mutual interests intersect”.
“Nowhere is that more evident than in Syria,” he said while adding that while President Vladimir Putin has committed to the United Nations-backed Geneva political process for providing a new future for Syria, “we expect Russia to follow through. We are confident that the fulfillment of these talks will produce a Syria that is free of Bashar al-Assad and his family”. — APP