US Ambassador to visit Pakistan amid regional tensions
Amid attempts of de-escalation of tension between the United States and Iran, US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells will travel to Pakistan from January 19 to January 22 to hold meetings with senior government officials to negotiate upon matters about mutual and regional interests.
Wells will be visiting Sri Lanka and India prior to reaching Pakistan. Her trip to Pakistan will be a part of her 10-day visit to the region.
Tensions increased of a fear of conflict between US and Iran after the US assassinated Iran’s top military commander Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike at Baghdad’s International Airport on January 3.
Iran, in response, launched over a dozen ballistic missiles at the Ain al-Assad airbase in Iraq’s Anbar province as well as a military facility in Erbil.
Pakistan has been urging for active diplomact to ease tensions in the Middle East. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan’s position on the ME situation is clear: “We stand for peace, stability and security in region. I have reiterated this to all stakeholders in my recent conversations,” he tweeted.
The FM added: “Active diplomacy to de-escalate tensions is the need of the hour. Violence must be avoided. We will continue with (peace) efforts.”
US President Donald Trump had directed an air strike on an Iraqi airport in Baghdad killing Soleimani.
Iran has since placed an $80 million bounty on Trump’s head and threatened to attack the White House in reponse to the his warning that any strike on the Americans will start massive retaliation.
Earlier, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper telephoned Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa to speak about the regional situation.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had also called General Bajwa before. The army chief assured the US secretaries that Pakistan will support all initiatives that help promote peace in the region.