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Trump,Nawaz Sharif to meet this week

16 May, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Almost six months after their ‘remarkable and unprecedented’ telephonic conversation, US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are likely to get a first chance to speak to each other face-to-face later this week.

Both leaders are among around two dozen heads of governments and states who are gathering in Saudi Arabia on May 21 for US-Arab Islamic summit.

Foreign Office officials confirmed that efforts were underway to arrange a maiden bilateral meeting between Trump and Nawaz at the sidelines of the summit.

A senior Pakistani official, who requested not to be identified since he was not authorised to speak to the media, said the prime minister was already preparing a ‘brief’ for a possible interaction with the US president.

The official said the ‘brief’ includes the country’s position on Afghanistan’s current situation and the way forward and current tensions with India.

On both issues, officials believe, the US administration can play a more proactive role in order to avoid regional countries pitting against each other for their strategic interests.

Some of Trump’s aides have publically expressed concerns over the deteriorating Indo-Pak ties raising hopes that Washington may eventually intervene.

Before Trump’s election, there were apprehensions that he could bring radical changes in its foreign policy especially in South Asia. But just weeks after he won the US presidential elections, he spoke to the prime minister by phone. That telephonic conversation had made headlines across the globe because of the US president’s unprecedented praise for Nawaz’s leadership as well as for Pakistan.

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