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US Senator Graham

US Senator Urges Trump to Meet Afghan, Pakistani Leaders

ISLAMABAD – US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Sunday that he will ask President Donald Trump to meet with the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan to push for peaceful settlement.
Speaking at a news conference in Islamabad after meeting with Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan, Senator Graham said that the war in Afghanistan “will end through reconciliation”.
“I’ve seen things change here and all in a positive direction,” said Graham, who is a member of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, said.
He said that a meeting with Khan would leave Trump “far more enthusiastic about the region than he is today”.
“With Prime Minister Khan we have a unique opportunity to change our relationship,” he said. A previously transactional relationship, based on rewards for services rendered, should be replaced by “strategic engagement”, including a free trade agreement, he said.
Talking about the meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Graham said that he has seen a positive change in Islamabad’s policy towards Afghanistan, praising Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision for a negotiated end to the 17-year-old conflict in Afghanistan.
He also appreciated Pakistan’s role in ongoing efforts to find a political settlement in Afghanistan at a meeting with Khan in Islamabad on Sunday.
Earlier at the meeting, Graham and Khan reviewed the regional security situation. The senator noted with satisfaction the premier’s efforts to normalize relations with neighboring countries.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s House, meanwhile, said Khan reiterated his government’s commitment to continue working with the US and other regional stakeholders to find a political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.
Diplomatic efforts for peace in Afghanistan have increased in recent months with US special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, meeting the Taliban at least three times. The group, however, has declined Afghan government’s call for direct talks.
Graham’s trip to Pakistan coincided with a visit by Khalilzad and top military commanders including General Joseph Votel, commander of US Central Command.
Khalilzad said that he appreciated Pakistan’s “resolve to push for Afghan peace”.
“We’re heading in the right direction with more steps by Pakistan coming that will lead to concrete results,” Khalilzad said.
(Sahar News)

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