‘Don’t enjoy dealing with Pakistan, cannot continue with status quo there,’ says US secretary of state Rex Tillerson

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by Shailaja Neelakantan

NEW DELHI: There are two things US secretary of state Rex Tillerson doesn’t enjoy about his job – dealing with North Korea+ and dealing with Pakistan+ , reported CNN.

He also said the US cannot continue dealing with the way things are in Pakistan because of its record on terror. By comparison, Washington wants to expand ties with India because of the importance of its economy as well as shared national security concerns. These concerns are also to do with terror emanating from Pakistan.

“Look, this is a hard job…The actual task at hand, dealing with North Korea, I don’t enjoy that… Dealing with Pakistan, I don’t enjoy,” said Tillerson at a town hall meeting with state department employees earlier today.

In a separate address, also earlier today, Tillerson spoke more about India’s neighbour, saying that the US cannot for long continue dealing with Pakistan which allows terrorist safe havens within its borders .

“We’re willing to share information with them (Pakistan) and we want them to be successful. But we cannot continue with the status quo, where terrorist organizations are allowed to find safe haven inside of Pakistan,” said Tillerson in an address at the 2017 Atlantic Council-Korea Foundation Forum in Washington DC.

Tillerson acknowledged that US ties with Pakistan have “really deteriorated” in the last decade. He also said he’s conveyed to Pakistan that its policy of terror safe havens could well backfire.

“Pakistan has allowed so many terrorist organizations to find safe haven within its territories, and these organizations are growing in size and influence, that at some point I have said to the leadership of Pakistan, you may be the target, and they turn their attention from Kabul and decide they like Islamabad as a target better,” said Tillerson.

The US is willing to work and help Pakistan erase terror, but it can’t be a one-way effort, said the secretary of state.

“We want to work with Pakistan to stamp out terrorism within their boundaries as well, but Pakistan has to begin the process of changing its relationship with the Haqqani Network and with others. I understand that this is a relationship that has emerged probably for, in their view, good reasons a decade ago, but now that relationship has to be altered because they – if they’re not careful, Pakistan is going to lose control of their own country,” said Tillerson.

As for India, Tillerson had a lot more positive things to say, including that the US is very keen to add India to its existing strong trilateral relationship with Japan and Australia.

“We’ve long had a trilateral relationship in the Indo-Pacific between Japan, Australia, and the U.S., and we’re now working towards whether this will become a quad relationship to include India because of the importance of India’s rising economy as well and I think shared national security concerns that we have with India,” said Tillerson.The Times of India online

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