In what could be a major embarrassment for Pakistan establishment, United States authorities denied making any announcement of meeting between the US President Barack Obama and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif. A top White House official even junked the claims of media reports suggesting that US President had invited Sharif for a bilateral meeting at the White House in October this year.
“This is news to me,” Peter R Lavoy, Special Assistant to US President and Senior Director for South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council of the White House, told the press when his attention was drawn to reports in this regard.
Reacting further to the media reports in Pakistan press claiming the invite by President Obama, Peter R Lavoy replied, “We have not made any announcement about Nawaz Sharif coming to Washington”. The While House official, however, admitted of having “knowledge” of such reports.
“I have seen press reports about that,” he said when asked to clarify further by the press.
The White House clarification over the ‘reported’ invite to Sharif came amid another set of reports in Pakistan media claiming America’s “unhappiness” with Islamabad over the latter’s continued reluctance in taking stern action against the dreaded Haqqani network. It is the Haqqani network, which is responsible for major attacks on American installations in Afghanistan.
“We have not made any statements about that,” Lavoy reiterated when asked for a second time if Obama has invited Sharif for a meeting at the White House in October adding “If it is pakka (final) you would be the first to hear”.
Interestingly, Mr. Lavoy, who has just returned from an official trip to Pakistan, described the US-Pakistan ties as “very” strong and stable one. Appreciating Pakistan’s counter terrorism cooperation, Lavoy termed it “vital” not only for the United States but also for the region.
The White House top official, meanwhile, also admitted that the United States is aware of concerns of both India and Afghanistan on cross border terrorism.
“This is something, we continue to have very frank discussions with Pakistan about areas of improvement, areas of increased cooperation with us and for Pakistan to cooperate with its regional leaders to deal with security threats and other opportunities,” he said.
(With inputs from the PTI and agencies)