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Pakistan Claims All Defence Cooperation With US Suspended, US Denies

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 1
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| } January 10 , 2018 , 15:35 IST

Pakistan defence minister in a public talk claimed that the nation has suspended all intelligence and defence cooperation with the US, in retaliation for the US blocking a total of $1.15 billion worth of aid to Pakistan for not acting against terror havens on its soil. The US Embassy in Islamabad, however, has denied Pakistan's claims of suspension of defence cooperation.

Khurram Dastgir Khan, Defence Minister of Pakistan was quoted by local media as saying that it was high time for Pakistan to have a "'ruthlessly candid dialogue' with the US" which blames Pakistan for nurturing Afghanistan-oriented terror groups.

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There is "a wide field of intelligence cooperation and defense cooperation, which we have suspended. US military aid suspension to Pakistan has no importance. High level dialogues with US would not work until resumption and consistency in working level dialogues," Khan said in a speech at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad.

"America needs to deal with that ungoverned area before it points fingers towards Pakistan's role in Afghan peace process," Khan added.

Khan did not specify whether the US has been formally informed about the suspension of all intelligence and defence cooperation.

"We have not received any formal communication regarding a suspension," said the US embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire in Islamabad.

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Senior US State Department official Steven Goldstein emphasised that the suspension of aid towards Pakistan was temporary, and not an end to overall aid.

"This is a suspension and not a cutoff. No funds have been reprogrammed, and we're hopeful for future cooperation from Pakistan," said Goldstein.

On January 1, US President Donald Trump tweeted disappointment in the in the inaction of Pakistan against safe havens for terrorists on its soil despite the US giving Pakistan billions of dollars in aid. Subsequently, the US blocked $255 million in Foreign Military Funding (FMF) and entire $900 million of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) aid to Pakistan.