Pakistan FM shelves US visit, to tour China, Russia

Islamabad, Aug 26, IRNA – Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif shelved invitation from his American counterpart to visit the US and will soon embark on a regional tour which will take him to China, Russia and Turkey.

The decision to undertake the visit to China, Russia and Turkey was taken at a meeting of the Pakistan National Security Committee which deliberated on the new US policy and formulated the response.

The foreign minister’s previously had been invited by Rex Tillerson to pay an immediate visit to Washington. His visit to the US has been delayed the time for the visit has not been finalized yet.

“Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif will be visiting regional countries for consultations,” foreign ministry spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said at a media briefing.

Pakistan, once a close ally of the US, now is unhappy with Washington over its anti-Pakistan strategy and is developing closer ties with China and Russia, instead.

The consultations would be aimed at developing regional consensus on efforts for peace in Afghanistan.

Experts believe the regional trip will send a strong message to the US that Pakistan cannot be coerced and that the country enjoys broad support in the region.

Both Moscow and Beijing have criticized the US position on Pakistan and have insisted that Pakistan’s importance for peace in Afghanistan and its sacrifices in the fight against terrorism need to be recognized.

Also Iran has joined the countries disapproving the US policy. The Iranian foreign ministry in a statement has denounced the new strategy adopted by the US towards Pakistan.