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Pakistan is hoping that Prime Minister Imran Khan and US President Donald Trump's meeting on July 22 will help mend estranged ties between the two countries. The Prime Minister will undertake his first official visit to the US from July 21-23, 2019 on the invitation of President Donald Trump. The meeting between Prime Minister Khan and President Trump will be the first summit-level engagement between Pakistan and the US since both leaders assumed their respective offices.
"The Prime Minister's visit will help renew and reinvigorate long-standing ties between Pakistan and the United States. It will contribute towards building a broad-based, long-term and enduring partnership between the two countries on the basis of mutual interest and mutual benefit," said Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal.
Besides, underscoring Pakistan's commitment to peace and stability and the importance of constructive engagement to promote a political solution in Afghanistan, Dr Faisal said that Prime Minister Khan 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.
The meeting comes at a time when Trump administration is trying to reach a peace agreement with the Taliban to end the nearly 18-year war in neighbouring Afghanistan. This, according to analysts will be the key agenda items of the Khan-Trump meeting with a focus on Pakistan's crucial role in persuading the Taliban for a peace deal. "The Trump administration is currently making efforts to reach an understanding with the Afghan Taliban and make a dignified exit from one of the most expensive wars fought by the US," said Lieutenant General Talat Masood (retd), a senior analyst.
He said that Pakistan needs to reset its strategy for dealing with the US and make this relationship multi-dimensional with emphasis on cooperation in various areas including trade and economy, security and defence as well as other areas of mutual interest.
Historically, he added, the relationship between Pakistan and the US has a single dimension, restricted to cooperation in combating terrorism and assisting the US in Afghanistan. In contrast, he pointed out that the US-India relationship is strategic, multi-dimensional and enduring.
He pointed out that the visit is taking place at a time when there is growing tensions between China and the US over the escalating trade dispute, adding that Pakistan needs to be careful in keeping a balance in relationship between the two world powers. "Pakistan's relation with the US is as important as with China," he said, adding that the policy makers should keep this in view during talks with the Trump administration.
A senior diplomat, who is currently posted in Islamabad, told this correspondent that Pakistan has been making efforts to make the relationship with the US beneficial for both countries. However, he added, the US has always seen its relations with Pakistan from the prism of Afghanistan.
"Pakistan understands that its relationship with the US is very important and we expect that the upcoming summit-level engagements between the leadership of the two countries is helpful in not only addressing the trust deficit but also instrumental in boosting bilateral ties," he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019