US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper likely to visit Pakistan in March: Sources

Written By: Anas Mallick WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Mar 09, 2020, 01.18 PM(IST)

File photo: US Defence Secretary Mark Esper. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper will likely be visiting Pakistan in the third week of March 2020, sources in the Pakistani government confirmed to WION.

US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper will likely be visiting Pakistan in the third week of March 2020, sources in the Pakistani government confirmed to WION.

The dates for Mark Esper’s visit to Pakistan will either be March 18 or  March 19, the sources said.

During the visit, Esper is likely to have a courtesy call with the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. The talks would focus on bilateral security cooperation as the US gears up to exit from Afghanistan.

The sources also said that Esper’s visit would be a follow up to the talks and bilateral meeting held between Pakistani PM Khan and US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum held in Davos in January.

Earlier, the US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross also visited Pakistan, right after he visited India in February 2020.

The visit of Mark Esper to Pakistan comes in the backdrop of Taliban deal where Pakistan was seen as a key facilitator and enabler of the peace pact.

The US has already suspended the Coalition Support Funds to Pakistan, the reimbursements worth $ 9.8 Billion which the US owes to Pakistan for utilising Pakistani territory during its war on terror in Afghanistan.

The United States had also suspended the military training program for Pakistan but restored in December last year.

A matter of the Coalition support fund is likely to be taken up during the bilateral talks.

On July 23 last year, Esper took charge as the Secretary of Defence of United States. 
 

Read in App