US, Pakistan discuss options for Bajwa’s visit to Washington

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WASHINGTON: U.S. and Pakistani officials are considering various options for the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), Gen. Qamar Bajwa, to visit the United States in late August or early September, diplomatic sources told dawn.

“A date will be finalized soon,” a source said. Since the visit has yet to be officially confirmed, neither side has announced the agenda for talks General Bajwa is likely to have in Washington.

But diplomatic circles and think tank experts point out that the two sides have been trying to arrange such a visit for more than a year now. They also refer to various recent events and statements that could be discussed if and when General Bajwa visits Washington.

“We remain engaged with a range of stakeholders in Pakistan, (including) those currently in government” and with “a wide range of others,” department spokesman Ned Price said.

Last month, General Bajwa contacted Washington asking for help in securing a quick disbursement of IMF funds. He spoke with US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and later a State Department official dismissed media speculation that the call was related to the current political situation in Pakistan.

Later, General Bajwa also spoke with US Centcom Commander, General Michael Erik Kurilla and, according to an official statement, the two men discussed in detail “matters of mutual interest, regional stability as well as defense and security cooperation”.

Posted in Dawn, August 16, 2022

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